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3 1833 00668 8102 



[Sf. JoJin tlie Eiuuigclist^ from Mrs. Jamicsoifs engraving of a 
picture by Rap/iael, in the Miisee at Marseilles'^ 

J. E. SMITH , 

Vestry Clerk of St. Margaret and St. John the Evangelist, 


;>y Entered at Stationers' Ilali.] 

"(0 little ^ook! thou avt so uucunning, 
giJoU) iinr st thou put tligsrlf in press, for brrnb? 
Jt is toonicr that thou to.veet not rcb ! 
^ince that thou hnotu'st full lite toho shall bcholb 
%hji vube language, full boistouslu unfolb. " 





"As Index fo the story.'' 

King Richakd III. 

Note.— The names of persons are in italics. 

II. 2. 

Abbey Water Mill ,. 348 

Abingdon-buildings 400 

Abingdon-street ... 345, 397-400 
Ackwort/i, Bitckcridgc Ball ... 523 
Accounts of Commissioners, cost 
of site and building of church 24-9 

Acreage of Wards 13 

Addison on charity schools ... 18 
A Ibcmarlc, Lord., reminiscences 

271, 273, 313, 314, 411 
Alcock, Sir Ri{t}icrfo7-d ... 504^ 534 
Aldridge., Rebecca ... 66, 404, 533 

••■ 397 

••■ 397 

... 396 

... 527 

428, 435 


A//e/i, Mr. G. Baitgh 
Allen-street ... ;.. 
Almery School 

Almonry, the 

A/uory, Tlwinas 

Archer., Thomas., architect of 

church 38, 40 (ct passim) 46 
Archery in Tothill-fields... 281-5 

Architect of church 36,38 

Architecture of church, opinions 
on — 

Beacoiisfield., Earl 0/ 

Bohu, H. G 


Chesterfield., Lord 

Cunningham., P. ... 

Dickens., Charles ... 

Hare, A. J. C. ... 

/esse,/. Heneage 

Knight, C 

Loftie, W./. 

Nightingale, Rei>. /. 

NoortJwiick, /. 

Rimmer, A 

Walcott, Rev. M. 

Walford, E 

Walpolc, Lord ... 
Area of parish, and wards 

... 46 

••• 43' 

... 38 

... 46 

40-2, 44 

... 45 

... 46 

... 44 

... 48 

•■• 39 

••• 39 

... 47 

... 45 

... 47 

... 44 

... n 

Armed Association ... 146, 476-484 

Army Clothing Depot 

Arneiuay, Thomas 396 

Arneway-street 395' 

Arnold-/arvis, Rev. E C ' 

M.A ;; 

Arrow, Mr. Churchwarden, 
funeral of 

Artillery-ground (row, place, 
etc.) 284,286,299,396,401, 
A tcheson, Re-o. H. , M. L. 
A tter-biiry. Bishop Era"cis, DD. 

'9, Ti, 

A iwood. Rev. T, B.A 

Augusta, (luccn, at the Horse- 

Autographs of Rectors 








Bacchus, Mr./oJin 62, 65, 130, 532 

Back, Rev./., M.A 117 

Baldwin, Caleb 271, 273 

]3altic Wharf, Grosvenor-road 379, 


Bandinel, Rev. /., ALA 115 

Baptisms 57 

Baptist Chapel, Romney-street 246 

Bardwell, JFm 250 

Barlow, Peter IV. 341, 344 

Barton-street, and Barton 

Booth 401,412,533 

Baths and Wash-houses, Com- 
mission, etc. 207, 450, 510-3 
Battery in Tothill-fields ... 287, 288 
Bcaconsfield, L^ord, in West- 
minster 46,452-6 

Beadle, the Parish 132, 140 

Beans and Bacon 226 

Bear and bull-baiting, cock- 
fighting, dog-fighting, etc., 
in Tothill-fields, 268-70, 

273, 274, 275 

Beargarden, J J 'ells' 269 

Bcckwith, E 459 




Beggar, a notable 449 

BclgravL\ Lord I'iscoiini, 145, 


l)cll-street and Dr. A. Bell., 397, 

405, 529 

Bells 55 

Benedictine monks in West- 
minster 248, 25 I 

Benefactions to parish ...65-6, 128, 
496-500, 531-540 

Bennett, Rev. T., D. D 112 

Bentinck, Atrhdeacon., \V. //., 

M.A 239,405 

Bentinck-street 397. 405 

Bent/uun, Jeremy ... 367-70, 377-9 

Bentliain, .Sir Samuel 382 

Bessborough-gardens 248, 396, 504 
}5essborough-strcet, place, etc. 397 

Bickerton^Jolin 276 

/)'/X% Mr. J. 509 

' Bingham's Leap ' 271 

Birkbeek, Dr. G 506 

Bis/top, M. Holman., Esq. 4, 138, 534 
Black Coat Hospital ... 522, 527 

Black Dog Alley 469 

Blackamoors, baptism of ... 57 
Black ley, Re7'. Canon, M.A. 4, 245 

Blair, Dr. John 68, 83- 5 

Blood, Colonel 463-9 

Bloomburg-street ... ... 397,405 

Blue Coat School 522-4, 527, 540 
Board of Works for Westmin- 
ster District 206 

Boating at the Ferry and Mill- 
bank ' 335-8 

Body stealing 124-5 

Bolder, Peter 415 

Bond-court 417 

Borradaile, Rev. A., M.A. 1 1 5, 225, 
226, 234, 239 

Boundaries of parish 9- 11 

Boundaries of Tothill-fields 

Trust 220 

Boundaries pf wards ... 11-12 
Bowling-alley (street) 396, 463-9 
Bradford, Bishop Samuel 31, 438 
Brewhouses on Millbank 354, 362 

Bridewell ... 319-21 

Broadway Chapel 17-71, 467, 522 
Broadwood, Messrs. ... 419, 431 

Ih'oderick, Rei'. Dr. 71 

15rompton Cemetery 128 

Brown, Sir Samuel ... 339, 341 

Bro7vne, Sir Anthony 386 

Brunswick, Prince Charles of 382 

Brunswick-gardens, row and 

place 397, 417 

Buecleuch, Duke of 504, 528 

Bulinga Fen ... 8,248,250,311 

Buller,John 460 

Burdett, Sir Brands 493-4, 528 

Burdett-Coutts, Baroness 227, 311, 

433, 504, 525 

Burdett-Coutts, IV., Esq., M.P. 494 

504. 534 

Burgess, Mrs. Ann 458 

Burgesses, Court of 220 

Burial Board 207 

Burial-ground — 

Acquisition and consecration 120 

Closed 124 

Converted into a garden ... 128 

Enlarged 123 

Fees 121, 122, 128 

Grant, Dr. Donald 130 

Indian Chief buried in ... 129 

^ohnson. Alderman J. 131 

Military funeral, a 146 

Monuments 129- 131, 154 

Overcrowded condition 122-3 

'Resurrection' outrages 124-5 

Surface raised 122,251 

Torchlight funerals 121 

Burial in woollen 126 

Burial registers 56, 128 

Busfeld, Rev. J. A., D.D. ... 113 
Butts, The 281,284,285,286,479 
Byroji's swim 338 

Calamy, D. Dr. 

Caldwall, James, engra\-er ... 
Campus Martius of West- 

Capon, IV. 361, 381, 

Carey-street and Dr. IV. Carey 

r / / / ^'^' ^97' 
Carter, John 

Cass, Christopher, mastermason 

Catholic Apostolic Church ... 

Causton-street 319, 397, 

Census statistics 


Centenarians 129, 

Chadwick-street ... 396, 406, 

Chapter-street 3 • 8, 3 1 9, 

' Charleys,' the old 

Chartist Rising, the ... 376, 

Chelsea-road 287 









Chelsea Water Works 347 

Ckclsoin, Dr. 426 

Clicritoii. RcT. C, B. A 103 

Cholera epidemic 204 

Christ Church, Victoria-street 

17, 71, 467, 469 
Church accommodation in St. 

Margaret's parish ... 17, 23 
Church, St. John's — 

Architect 38 

Architectural opinions on 38-48 

Bells 55 

Benefactions 65, 128 

' Church of the House of 

Commons ' 65 

Clock 67 

Consecrated 30 

Cost of erection 24-9 

Dedication 29 

Destroyed by fire 33-5 

Font ' ... ' 55, 59 

Galleries 49, 50 

Gas, lighted by 64 

Interior 51-2 

Monuments 60-3 

Organ 48-9, 55 

Pictures _. ... 56, 58 

Plate 53-5 

Railings 52 

Registers 56, 57, 128 

Repairs 50-1, 53, 194-9 

Restoration after the fire ... 36 

Site, purchase of 24 

South-west pinnacle ... 36, 50 

Vaults 67-9 

Windows 32, 56, 58, 59 

Church House, The 460, 510, 512 

Church-street 217,396 

Churchill^ Charles^ the poet 76-7, 
103-111, 422 

C /lien hill, Jo /in 399 

C/iurc/iili, Mrs. Si/siui/ia/i ... 452 
C/iiirc/iill, Rev. C/iarlcs 32, 10 1-2 
C/iurc/iill, T/ioiiias 32, 102, 145 
Election of 134 

Fines for non-acceptance of 

office 145 

List of 135-8 

Prayer books presented to 145 
Churchwardens' Day ... 139-144 
Churchwarden's funeral, A ... 146 
Churchwardens' accounts — 

Butts and shooting house ... 289 
Fall of houses in Perkin's- 
rents 435 

Ch urch wardens' accounts coulinucd. 

Plague and pest-houses 293-7 

Provision of butts, arms, 

setting-out soldiers, &c. 284, 

286, 288-9 

Sale of grass 253 

Scottish prisoners ... 291-2 

Cigar-Box, the 188 

City of Westminster Mechanics' 

Institution 459,506,509 

Claims by Rectors 68 

CI ay ton .1 Dean 215 

Clock 67 

Closing of burial-ground 124, 126 
Coaches, Annual procession of 361 
Cobourg-row ... 3 1 8, 3 1 9, 397, 407 
Cock-pits 268, 270, 452, 462 

Coldstream Guards' Hospital 311, 


Cole, Mr. Jacob 485-7 

Coleridge, Dr. 426 

College-court 416 

College-street 217,337,354,356, 
Collins, J'F)//., the artist ... 278,427 
Colours of Westminster \'olun- 

teers 483 

Colqu/ioun, Dr. Patriclc, on the 

police 209, 505 

Commission, sec " Royal Com- 
mission " 

Communion plate 54 

Condition of clergy in 18th cen- 
tury 70,74,75 

Condition of streets ... 200-5 
Consecration of burial-ground 120 

Consecration of church 30 

Consolidated charities ... 534-6 

Constitution of Vestry 191 

Convocation, controversy be- 
tween Upper and Lower 

Houses 18, 19, 20 

letter of Queen Anne to 20 

Conway, Canon 5°4 

Coo/:,Jas. Esq 4 

Coombes, the champion of the 

Thames 3'^ 

Cormuallis, Letitia 54° 

Cosens, Rev. W. E. R., D./h 4-241 



Cesser, Step/ien, Esq. 
Cost of site and buildinj. 


' Councillor lUcl;erion, Esq.,' 

Court of Burgesses 

Cowley-street antl Abraliam 

Co-d'lev 401,403, 4' 2 





Cow distemper, of 1750 253 

Craven^ Earl., account of the 

Pestilence 301 

Criticisms on architecture of 

Church 39-48 

Crosse, Charles 35? ^8 

Crosse, Godsah'e 33, 66 

Crosse., Sir John 

34, 35, 49,65, 135, 361 
Crosse, Sir Thomas 

67, 135, 140, 489-91 
Crown Estate Paving Com- 



400, 433 


Cubit t, Mr. T. M.P. 
Cumberland, Richard 
Cumberland Tea Gardens 381, 384 

Curates and Lecturers 
Cutler, Sir Jo Jin 

loi-i 19 
... 17 

Dangers of Milll^ank and Tot- 
hill-fields 306, 354 

Dangers of the streets ... 212-4 
Daniell-Bainbridge,Rev. H. G., 

M.A 118 

Date of erection of church ... 30 
Davies, Mary, the heiress ... 357 

Davies, Rev. G. H. D 119 

Davies, Rev. U\ H. 116 

Davis, Ann 533 

Davis, Rev. ]\\ 113 

Day, Miss 519 

De Groot 435 

Dean and Chapter, disputes 308-10, 

439, 422 

Dcan-strect .■•217, 396, 426, 459 

Dean's-place 397 

Deans of Westminster ... 437-8 
Declared Accounts of Com- 
missioners 24-9 

Dedication of church 29 

Delaval House 399 

Delaval, Sir John 354 

Dcnn, Dr. 31 

Derivation of title of church ... 29 
' Desart of Westminster,' the 428 
Description of church ... 40-52 

' Devil's Acre,' the 443 

Devon-place 417 

Dickens, C, description of a 

London burial-ground ... 123 
— — Church, Smith-square 45, 47 

Horseferr)', the 335 

- — Millbank 365-6 

'Ourparish' 139 

Dilke, Charles IV. and Di/he, 

Sir Charles IV., M.P. 409, 458 

Dickinson, Edivard 65,532 

Dickson, Rev. G. D. W., M.A. 4, 244 
Dinner on ' Churchwardens' 

day ' 142 

Dirty Condition of Church ... 53 

Dirty Lane 398 

Discovery of skeletons 300 

Dispensary, Western ... 503,536 
Dissensions in Convocation 18-20 
Distilleries on Millbank 362, 389 

Dolbcn, Bishop John 437 

Dodd, Ralph 381 

Douglas-place 471 

Douglas-street 397,416 

Downes, Rev. J. 113 

'Duck,' the 255, 271, 313 

Duck-lane... 237, 275, 451, 522, 527 
Duelling in Tothill-fields ... 305 

Duke-street Chapel 17 

Dutch picturesciueness of Mill- 
bank 358-361 

Duties of Vestry 200 

Eari-street 395, 396, 

Eaton, Rev. H., B.A 

Ebuiy, Lord 

Ecclesiastical disagreements 

Ecclesiastical districts 

Edgar, Charter of ... 8,222, 

Edric the fisherman 

Edward-street 397, 

Edivards, Rev. Holland 59, 87 
Eldrich's Nursery ... 8, 216, 
Election of Paving Com- 

Elections, Parliamentary in 

Westminster 488- 

Elliott, Captain 

Elliott, John Lettso/i, Esq. 

4, 147, 318, 329, 
Ellis, Rev. H. M., M.A. 
Elliston, R. Jr., the actor ... 
Emanuel Hospital 17,460, 522, 
Emery Hill's Almshouses 

17, 406, 439, 496-500 

Engine House 218, 

' English Bastille,' the ... 366 

Enquii')' by Royal Commission 

as to need of new churches 



Etymology of 'Tothill' ... 249, 










VI 1. 

Evans, Dr., epitaph on Van- 

brugh 42 

Evans, Afr. IF., churchwarden 137 

147-50, ^77^ 528 

Evans, Rev. S. 103 

Evening service commenced... 91 

Fairs in Tothill-fields 263-7, 271,418 

Famous Frosts 326-9 

FartucU, R 62, 532 

Festivities in Tothill-fields 256-8 

Finch, Dr. Poole 63,85-6 

Fines for non-acceptance of 

office of churchwarden ... 45 

Finney, Mr. 462 

Fire-engine, annual drill ... 141 
Fire-extinguishing arrangements 

in parish 218,220 

Fire inquest held by Vestry ... 219 
Fire insurance offices ... 33,219 

Fish Market, the 500 

Fitzgerald, Rei '. T. i o i 

Five Chimney-court ... 316,471 
Five Chimneys, or Seven 

Houses, 253, 271, 273, 276-8, 
297, 302, 314, 316, 471 
' Five Fields,' the ... 252, 306, 314 
Flight of James II. and his 

Queen ... 329-333 

Floods in Westminster 252, 349, 350 

Font 55, 59 

Foot, R 62 

Ford, Francis, Esq 4 

Forrest, Henry 5 38-9 

Fort in Tothill-fields ' 287 

France, Rev. G., M. A 115 

Franklyn, Rei'.J. H. 118 

Frederick-street 397 

Free Public Library 207, 459, 506-10 

Freeing of the Bridges 344 

Freeman, W. 63 

Frost Fair 328 

Funeral of Mr. Chiirchii'ardcn 

Arrow ... 146 

Funerals by torchlight 121 

Furniture belonging to church 56 
Fiirse, Rev. Canon C. W.,M.A. 99 
Fynes-street 318,397,417 

Galleries in Church 49 

Garden-street 319, 417 

Gas, first used in church 64, 216 

Gas, invention and introduc- 
tion of 215-7, 394 

In parish 205, 216-7, 4i8, 423, 

Gate House Prison ... 320, 321 

Gay/ere, Mr. 68, 416 

Gee, Dr. Edward t,\, 71, 79-81, 194 

(jeological features '2-13 

George IV. in Tothill-fields 314-6 

Glenbervie, Lord 503 

Gibbon, the historian 407 

Gibbs, Mr. William ... 235, 238 
Gilbert, Rev. P. P., M.A. ... 114 
Ginger, IV., of College-street 410 

'Go your way' 409 

Godson, .Septimus H. 509 

Gooseberry Fair 271 

Governors and Directors of the 

Poor 203, 442 

Great Seal thrown into the 

Thames 332 

Grant, Dr. Donald 130 

Gravel taken from Tothill- 
fields 251, 303, 305-6 

Great College-street 217, 2,37, 354, 

356, 407-15 

Great Peter-street ... 216, 217, 396, 

43>-3- 5'3 
Great Smith-street ... 217, 237, 407, 


Green, Mr. David 60 

Green, Mr. T/tomas 58, 66, 145 

Greene, William 522-3 

Green-coat Hospital 319, 522, 527 
Greenwich parish church ... 20 
Grenadier Guards' Hospital ... 525 
Grey-coat Hospital 17, 312, 417, 
519-22, 527, 540 
Grey-coat-place and street 396, 417 

Grinsell, Mrs. Jane 538-9 

Gritten, W. R 508 

Grosvenor, Sir Robert 35, 49, 135, 
'40, 355, 356 
Grosvenor, Lord 122, 123, 355,363 
(See Peterborough House) 

Grosvenor Hospital 524 

Grosvenor- road 363, 364-5, 379, 381, 


Grosvenor-street 395 

Grub-street 4 '9 

Guards' Hospitals 31 1, 441, 47'' 525 

Gulston's-cottages 315,406 

Gwilt, Joseph 398 

G'o.ytlyr, Lord 478 

Gwynne, Madame 316, 387 




Hao^itf, Rc7'. IT Any, M.A.... 113 

H(!h\ A rclidcacflii 53 

Halfpenny Hatch, the 313, 314, 315, 


Halh Robert, M.A 76 

Hall, Sir Benjamin 205 

Hainniick, Rct. E. A., M.A. i [9 

Harragc, Mr. E 63 

Harvey, Rev. R 89 

Hatlierley, Lord (Sir IV. Page 

Wood) 268, 509, 528 

Ha-cvkes, Mrs. E. M. 62 

Hayes, Catherine 473 

Heatlier, William 447 

' Heaven Tavern' 400 

Hebberfield, Wm. (Slender 

Billy) 271-5,276 

Herri ek Robert. .. 444 

Hertslet, monuments in church 61 

Hide-place ... 318 

Hiffernan, Paul 409 

High-street at Millbank 354 

Highwaymen 306, 354, 418 

Hill in Tothill-fields 249, 251, 256, 


Hill's Almshouses 17,406,439, 496- 

500, 539 

Hipwell, Daniel, Esq. ... 5, 100 

Hiseox, Rev. J. 113 

Historic sign-boards ... 394-5, 404 
Hobhouse's Act, adopted ; and 

result 203-4 

Home for Working Boys ... 513 

Mora, James, Esq 504 

Holland-street 397, 423, 543 

Holy Trinity, Bessborough- 
gardens, church and 
schools ... 15,239-242,405 

Holy well-street 395) 43° 

Horse baited to death 269 

Horse Ferry, the — 

Boats and boating ... 335-8 

Byroiis swim 338 

Dusky ambassadors at ... 327 

Famous frosts 326-9 

Ferry House 333-5 

Ferry rates 329 

P'irst steam-boat 338 

Flight of James II. and his 

Queen 329-333 

Lambeth-bndge ... 333, 338-346 
Legend of St. Peter and the 
fisherman 324-6 

Horse Ferry, the — eontinued. 
Marlboroiigli and the ferr)'- 

man y;,-}) 

Notable passengers ... 327, 333 
OiiecnAiigusta ofSaxe-Gotha 333 

Regatta, the 336 

Water- works 347 

Westminster and Eton 
Horseferry-road 203, 216, 396, 417 

Horsley, Bishop Samuel 438 

Hotehkiss, Rev. V., B.A. 112, 542 
House of Commons at St. John's 

Church 65 

Houses first numbered 394 

Hojvard, Hon. F. C. 525 

Howard, John, the philan- 
thropist 321, 367 

Howell, ReT'. J. 103,542 

Hubbert, 'gamekeeper of Tot- 
hill-fields' 275 

Hudson's-terrace 395 

Hughes, Rev. J., M.A 114 

Hunt, Mr. James 59, 66, 147, 150 
Hunt, Rev. H. W., M.A. ... 117 
Hunt, Sir H. A. .59, 65, 66, 147, 244 
Hunt, Sir E. Seager, M.P. ... 128, 
138, 150 

Hutehins,Mr.J.P 5 

Huttons, the, of College-street 415 


Indian chief buried in St. John's 

Burial-ground 129 

Inhabited houses, Number of 14 
Inquest of a fire held by \'estry 2(9 
Inscriptions in church ... 60, 63 
Instrument appointing Vestry 191 

setting out the parish ... 9-10 

Insurance offices in London 33, 219 
Interior of church described ... 5 1-2 

Inundations 252, 349 

Inventory of plate, furniture, 

ornaments, &c 53-6 

' Irvingites' in Westminster ... 246 
Islip, Abbot 386 

'Jaek HalP 125 

Janus H. and Mary of Modena, 

flight of ...'.:. ... 329-333 
Jennings, The Ven. Arehdea- 
eon John, M.A. — 

Life 88-98 

Monument 61 



lennings^ The Vcn. Archdea- 
con Jo.'iii, Af.A. — continued. 
References to 128, 151, 207, 222, 
224, 226,232, 239,509,511, 527 

Wife's monument 60 

Jephson, Rev. IV., M.A 116 

' Joe Miller,' a 357 

Jones, Reji. A., B.D 116 

Jones, Re7'. Giistaviis, M.A. 

5, 95. "7 

Jones, Jemima 533 

John's-place 473 

Johnson, Alderman John 

89, 131, 137, 151-4, 363 

Johnson-street 395, 396, 420 

Johnson, Dr. S., on street dan- 
gers, etc 213, 215 

Johnson, Rev. IV. 113 

Jubilee of George III. and 

Queen Victoria 484 


Keats, John 408 

Keene, Rev. Talbot, M.A. ... 112 

Ken, Bishop 73 

Kensington-place 395 

King's Arms presented to 

Church 32 

King's Scholars' pond and 

sewer 256, 271, 387, 388 

Knightsbridge, proposed sur- 
render of 38S 

Kny-vett, G. H. IV. 61 

Kyte, Rev. J., D.D 11 t 

Laiid)erf, TJionias 410 

Lambeth-bridge y:,i, 338-346, ^.T] 

Lamplighter, the old 214 

Langton, Bennett 477 

Laundry-yard 420, 425, 431 

' Lav Bishop of Westminster,' 

'the 268 

Legendary history ... 248, 250, 324 
Lenno.v, Lord, reminiscences 275 

Levying of rates 194,316 

Library, Free Public ... 207, 506 

Liclifield, BisJiop of 53 

Lighting of streets, &c. 212-7, 394 

Lillington-street 396,420 

Lindsey House and lane 354, 397-8, 


Linen, burial in 126 

Linen of church 56 

Lmk-boys, the 213 

List of churchwardens ... 135-8 

List of overseers 181-4 

List ofcurates and lecturers loi-i 19 
List of representatives in par- 
liament 493-4 

List of vestry clerks 189 

Littlington, Abbot 348, 386, 407, 41 1 

Little College-street 415 

Little Peter-street ... 396,431,474 

Little Smith-street 217,460 

Lives of the Rectors ... 79-100 
Local self-government of parish 


Longevity 128-9,427 

Longlands, Rev. T., M.A. ... 113 

Lowe, Ri. Hon., IV. 482 

Lowndes, Williain 489, 490 


J/,:?i;v?//A?j'on condition of clergv 75 
Malone, Rev. R., M.A. 5, 236, '237-8 

Manning, Rei'. C, B. A 112 

Margrie, Mr. James ... 5,515 

Market-street 418 

Man of Ross, of Westminster 496 
Manse! I, John, Henry HPs 

Councillor 258 

MarlborougJi, DuJce c^/and the 

lucky ferryman y^^l 

Marlborough House, court and 

place 423 

Marsham, Charles, Earl of 

Romney 420 


7, 9, 217, 250, 396, 412, 420 
Maud, Rev. J. L.junr., M.A. 119 

Maze, the 304-5 

McNally, John, a notable 

beggar 449 

Medical garden 253 

Medway-street 396, 397 

' Memorial of the Church of 

England, a ' 18 

Merrie Westminster 281 

Metropolis Local Management 

Act 205 

Middlesex and Westminster 

Volunteers 4^3 

Midnight interments 121 

Military Hospitals 524 

Millbank 315, 396 

A capacious tree 381 

Bank, the early 349, 350, 351-2 
liclgrave House 354 


Milibank — continued. 

Brewhouses, distilleries ... 362 
Complaints of condition of 

highway 351-3 

Dangers of 354 

Dickens' description of ... 365 
Dutch picturesqueness of 

358, 359. 361 
Fashionable quarter, a 354, 358 

Mill, the Abbey 348-9 

Peterborough House 355-8, 362 
Procession of Coaches, 

annual 361 

Salisbury Estate 

Sunday Constable, the ... 354 
Tidal inundations... 252, 349, 350 

Toideroy, Airs 365 

Waterworks 346,354 

Wharves, formation of 362-4 

Windmill 36 r 

Milibank House 356, 357 

Milibank Penitentiary 

315, 362, 364, 366-377 

217, 218,314,354, 379,394 
Miller, George Taverner, Esq., 

J-P 5, 138 

Miller, Rev. George, M.A. 

5, 117, 241 
Miller, Taverner John, M.P. 1 54 


Minor and major troubles of 


Mitchell, Eliza A nn 

Mob violence 

' Mohocks,' the 

Monck, Henry 


Monster Tea-gardens 

Montagu, E. Worthy 

Monuments in burial ground.. 

Monuments in church 

Morris, J oil n 

Mount, Patrick, R.N. 

Moivbray, Rev. E. G. L., M.A 

Murdoch, William 

Music in church 


... 31 

••• 534 

... 449 

... 213 

185, 423 

396, 423 







Names first placed on doors 
Napier, Rev. G., M.A. ... 
Narcs, Arcluleaeon R. 
National Schools, founder of 
National .Society, the 

Nature of soil 12-3, 

Neat-houses, the 252 

Negroes, baptism of 
New Peter-street 
New Pye-street 


Newton, Thonms ... 
' New Way,' the 
Nicholls, Dr. W. ... 

' Nickers,' the 

North-street ... 396, 


Nussey, Rev. J., M.A. 


39 (^^ 
passim), 25 i 

-87, 316, 385- 


... 406, 432 

••• 396, 433 
... 425,544 


205, 428, 438 



412, 425, 544 





Offa, charter of 7, 248 

Oil lamps, introduction of ... 214 
Old Pye-street 237, 238, 396, 433 
Olivier, Rev. H. E., B.A. ... 119 
Ommaney, Admiral ... 145, 354 
Onley, Dr. NicJiolas 20, 24, 30 

Orchard-street 246, 251, 394, 426-30 

Organ, the 48,49,55 

Organists 49 

Origin of parishes 7 

Origin of St. John's parish ... g 

Ornaments of church 31 

Oswell, Rev. H. L., M.A. ... 115 
Overflows of the Thames 252, 349 
Overseers, appointment of ... 181 

duties of 179-181 

list of 181 

Oxlev, Mr. W. E. Harland 

5, 266, 268 

Page-street 396, 430 

Paintings in church ... 56, 58 
Palmer's Almshouses ... 17,406 

Palmer's Village 319 

Pamphlet, an obnoxious 18 

Parish officers 132-189 

' Parish parade,' the 141 

Parish plate 53-5, 56 

Parish registers 56-8, 128 

Parliament and the new 

churches 21 

Parliament-stairs 398-9 

Parliamentary grant after fire 35 

Parochial charities 531 

Past Overseers' Society 156, 184-8 
Patronage of Parliamentary 

candidates 488-494 


Patriotism of Westminster 281, 284, 

286, 475-487 

Paull, Rev. H. H. B., M.A. ... 117 

Pauper burials 121 

Pavilion in St. John's-garden 128 
Paving Acts and Commissions, 

201-4, 362,396. 439. 442 
Payments to builders of church 25-9 
Peabody-buildings, and Gcorg'c 

Pcabody 426,429 

Pcarcc, BisJwp Zachary 438 

PcM-cc, WiUiaiii 400 

Pear-street 251,430 

Peaty nature of soil 12, 13, 38, 39 

Pcirson., Sannicl iio 

Pel haul, Mr 35 

Pcpys at the Neathouses 386-7, 389 

Perkins-rents 435 

Pest Houses and the Plague 

292-302, 438, 471 
Peter-streets (Great and Little) 431 
Pctcrho7'flitg]i., Charles.^ 3rd Earl 

of ■ 357 

Peterborough House 355-8, 362, 363 
Phelps, Rc7'. F. R., M.A. ... 119 

Phillips, Rev. H. E 117 

Physical features 8, 12-13 

Picture of church after fire ... 33 

Pictures in church 56, 59 

Pinfold, Dr. Charles 31 

Piper's-ground 415 

Plantagcnets, the 252, 281 

Plate of church 53-5 

Playground of famous boys ... 306 
J-'leasures of the town archii?- 

ologist 392-3 

Poet Laureate {H.J. Pye) ... 505 

Police-court 505 

Police of the metropolis 209 

Ponsonby-place, street, t^ic. 315, 379 

Poole, Mr. Henry E 5 

Population 14 

Porter, He my and the ' great 

organ ' 48 

Portrait of Wvi. Arehdeaeon 

Jennings 98 

Pound House, the 417, 439 

Poiv, Rev. W. M. 112 

Powell, Rev. G 112 

Prayer books, presentation of. . . 145 

Priee, Samuel 35 

Prisons {see "Bridewell," "Tot- 
hill-fields," and "Millbank 
Prize-fighting in Tothill-fields 271 

Public Baths and Wash-houses 207, 
450, 510 

Public-house signs 395 

Public Record Office, ' Declared 

Accounts' 24-9 

Purcell, Henry 435, 445-7 

Purchase of site for church ... 24 

' Puss in a parachute' 390 

Pye, Sir Robert 435, 505 

Pye.HJ. 505 

Pye-street (Old and New) 237, 238, 
396, 433 


Queen Anne's bounty ... ••• 18 

Queen-square Chapel 17 

Queen-street police office ... 505 
Queen's Royal Volunteers 48 1, 483 
Queen's-stairs 398 


Race-course at Tothill-fields ... 270 
Railings and gates round 

church 52 

Raising of burial ground 122, 251 
Rampart in Tothill-fields 287, 288 

Ranelagh sewer 388 

Rates, levying and collection 

of 194. 318 

Rawlinson, Rev. G 225 

Reatehloiis, A. H. Esq. M.A. 

B.Sc 5 

Recantations 56-7 

Red House, the 337 

Rector's Rate 100. 194 

Rectors, the 70-100 

Rectors, claims by 68 

Rectory House 154-5 

Regattas at the Horse P^crry... 336 
Regency (Regent) street 318,436 
' Regent Arms ' public-house... 318 
Regent- place, engine-house in 


Registers of parish 56-8, 128 

Relations between \'estrics of 

two parishes 194-9 

Rennie, Sir John 371, 382 

Repair of highways 35 '-3 

Report of Royal Commission 

as to need of new churches 1 7 
Representatives in Parliament 493-4 
Restoration after the fire ; the 
Vestry's difficulties ; Par- 
liamentary grant ol^tained : 
cost 34-^' 



'Resurrection' outrages... 124-5 
Rewards for attendance at fire 219 
Reviews of Westminster Volun- 
teers 479-81 

Ridlev-place 43^ 

Rigg'. Rcv.J. H., D.n 518 

Rights of way, questions of 

310 {ct passim), 389, 439-442 

Road-watering 205 

Robcrispn, Col. W. 426 

Rflbcrtson, Mrs. Auasiasia ... 357 
Rochester, Bishops of ... 437-8 

203, 246, 316, 397, 436-443 

Rodfirr, Rei'. IV. J 114 

Roman CathoHc Church 245 

Romney-street 217, 246, 396, 421 
Rose, j'/r. Frederick 184, 185, 543 
Royal Commission (New 

Churches) appointment ... 22 

representation by .St.Mar- 

garet's Vestry to 23 

report 17 

Ro7ue/i, Re-,'. T. 10 1 

RuslnvortIi,Johu 448 

Saehe7<ercU, Dr. Henry 19 

Saint Andrew's Home 513 

Samt Ann's-court ... 232-3, 450 
Saint Ann's-lane ... 232, 443-50 
Saint Ann's-street ... 237, 443, 450 
Saint Edward's Fair ... 264-5 
Saint CJeorge, Hanover-square 

parish of 8, 387, 388 

SainL James-the-less, Upper 

Garden-street 15,242-5 

Saint John's Burial-ground {see 

"Burial-ground") 543 

Club 514-15 

Church {see "Church, 


Parish {see " Parish") 

Public-garden 127-8 

Snuff-box 56, 156-177 

Saint John-street 396, 450 

Saint Katherine's Docks 13, 385 
Saint Margaret's church ... 17 

parish 7, 16 

Vestry, Statement of, as 

to need of new church ... 23 

■ Relations between 

St. John's Vestry and 194-9 
Saint Margaret and St. John's 

Armed Association, 146, 476- 

Saint Margaret's P'air ... 265-6 
Saint Martin-in-the-Fieids, 

parish of 8, 387, 38S 

Saint Mary-the- Virgin, Tothill- 

fields 15, 92, 224-6, 310 

Saint Mary's Roman Catholic 

Church 245 

Saint Matthew, Great Peter- 
street 15' 93. 232-9 

Saint Matthew-street 451 

Saint Peter and Edric the 

fisherman 324 

Saint Stephen, Rochester- 
row, Church and Schools 

15, 226, 232, 311 
Salisbury Estate 356, 389, 470 
Sanctuar)', the unhappy privi- 
leges of 267 

'Salutation' Inn 404 

Schedule of church plate, bells, 

furniture, ornaments, kc. 54 

Schools 527 

(See also Hospitals). 

ScGtt, Rev. C, M.A 113 

Scots Guards' Hospital 471 

Scottish prisoners in Tothill- 

fields 289-92 

Secretan, Rev. C. F. 241 

Self-government of the parish 


Services in church 48 

Seven houses or Five Chimneys 

253, 271, 273, 276-8, 302, 
314, 316, 471 

S/ied/oek,J. F. 436, 509 

S/iep/iard, C/irisfop/ier 129 

Sheppard, Jane 63 

Skeletons discovery of 300 

'Ship' The, Millbank ,315 

Ship-court 396, 419 

Signboards, disappearance of 394 
Signs, Old Westminster 394-5, 404 
Sinclair, Ven. Archdeacon, 53, 
. . 231 
Smkmg of church during build- 
ing 38-9 

Sims, Rev. JosepJi 34.82 

"Sir Roger de Coverley" in St. 

Ann's-lane 445 

on the need of the new 

Churches 15 

Site of Church 23,24 

' Slender Billy ' ... 3 7 1 -6, 3 1 6 
Slums of Westminster 232-3, 237 
Smal/icietl, Rev. E., D.D. 103, 542 
Smirl'c, Sir Rol)ert 367, 371 



Smith, Mr. J. ^., Vestry Clerk 

I, 189 
Smith, Hc7i}-y, site of church 

purchased of 24,456 

Smith, Stone, monuments of 

family of 60-1 

Smith-street {see ' Great Smith- 
'Smithfield of Western London' 255 

Smith-square 412, 452-6 

Smith, Sir James 456 

Snipe in Tothill-fields 253, 255, 275, 


Snuff-box, the 56, 156-177 

Soil, spongy nature of 13, 39, 251, 
342, 370, -hll 
Sounding board in church ... 48 
South-west tower, destroyed by 

fire 36 

South-west tower, struck by 

lighting 50 

Southern, Thomas 456 

Special Constables ... 376, 485-7 

Sprat, Bishop Thomas 437 

Stafford, Robert 66, 67, 137, 533 
Statistics of insanitary condi- 
tion of parish 204-5 

Statistics of population, houses, 

&c 14 

Statistics of the ecclesiastical 

districts 224 

Steaiii-boat, first on the Thames 338 

Steele, Sir Richard 457 

Stephenson, Mr. Simon ... 58-9, 66 
Stockdale and Hansard ... 147-50 
Stokes, Rev. G., LL. B. ... 114 

Stone, Rev. T, M.A 115 

Street lighting 212-17 

Streets, condition of ... 200-5 

dangers of 212-4 

lighting of 394 

Stretton, Rev. H., M.A 116 

Strutton-ground 217, 460 

Styles, Rev. F. M.A 115 

Sub-soil, nature of 12-13 

' Sugar Hogshead,' the 427 

Swift's ' Description of a City 

Shower' 200 

' vSwiss Ground,' the 205 


Tachbrook-sti'eet ...396, 461, 543 
Tate's, Mr. H. ' National Gal- 
lery of British Art ' 377 

Tat ton, George, Esq. 

Tavern signs 

Taylor, Rev. C. R., M.A. 
Tayton, the late Mr. T. J. 

Teesdale, Col. 

Telford, Thomas 

Tennant, Rev. IV., M.A. 







Terry, Mr. G. P. IV. 

Thames, overflowing of 252, 
Theatre booths, Tothill-fields 

Fair 266 

Thirleby, Bishop 438 

Thoms, VV.J. ... 3' I. 315. 415. 431 

Thomas, Bishop John 43S 

Thomas, Rev. H. D., M.A. ... 118 

Thorney Island 248 

Tidal inundations 349 

Till, Rev. L. W., M.A., 117 

Title of the church, deri\ation 29 
Tobacco-box, the ... 156, 184-8 

Tolderoy, Mrs 365 

Toll bars 319 

Tombstones in burial-ground 130 
Toplady, Rev. A. J/., B.A. 112, 542 

Torchlight funerals 121 

Tothill-fields, 8, 9, 11, 13, 356, 431, 
437, 438 

Albemarle, Lord, reminis- 
cences 271,273,313,314 

Ancient appearance and to- 
pography 247-8 

Archery, practice in ... 281-5 
Artillery ground ... 284, 286, 299 

Baldiijin, Caleb 271, 273 

Battery, the 287,288 

Bear and bull baiting, cock- 
fighting, dog-fighting, &C. 

268-270, 273. 275 
Benthani s d&?>cn\yi\o\\ oi ... 369 

' Bingliants leap ' 271 

Bridewell 319 

Ikilinga Fen 8,248,250 

Butts and Shooting-house 

281, 284, 285, 286,479 
Campus INIartius of West- 
minster 280 

Collins, TF., the artist ... 278 
Complaints of removal of 

gravel, kc, from ... 251, 303 

Councillor Bickerton, Esq. 276-8 

Cow distemper of 1750 ... 253 

Craven, Earl of, account 

concerning the pestilence 301 



Totbill-ficlds — continued. 

Discovery of skeletons ... 300 
Disputed claims with Dean 
and Chapter to ... 308-10 

'Duck,' the 255, 271, 313 

Duelling in 305 

Etymology of name ... 249, 250 

Festivities in 256-8 

' Five Chimneys ' or ' Seven 
Houses'" 253, 271, 273, 276-8 
297, 302, 314, 316 

Geology 13-248 

George /Kin 314-6 

Halfpenny Hatch, the ... 314 
Hebbcrfield, 1 1 '///. , or ' Slender 

Billy'' 271-6 

Highwaymen in 306 

' Hill,' the 249, 251, 490 

Horse baited to death ... 269 
Hiibbcrt, R. ; and Mother 

Hubbert 275, 313 

King's Scholars' Pond and 

sewer 256, 271 

Legendary history 250 

Lennox, /.wc?', reminiscences 275 
ManseIl,JoJin, Henry Ill's 

Councillor 258 

Maze, the 304-5 

Offa, charter of 7, 248 

Overflowed by the Thames... 252 
Pest Houses and the Plague 292- 

Playground for Westminster 

School 306-311 

Produce 251, 252, 253 

Race-course at, supposed ... 270 
Rampart and battery in 287, 288 

Sanctuary rights 267 

Scottish prisoners in ... 289-92 
' Smithfield of Western Lon- 
don' ... 255 

Seven Houses or Five Chim- 
neys, 253, 271, 273, 276-8, 297, 
302, 314, 316 
Snipe, in ...253,255,275,313 
Soil, nature of 1 3, 39, 25 1 , 370, 377 
Sports and pastimes, in 281 

{ct passim) 
Strange adventure, a ... 307-S 
Taking of gravel from 251, 305 

Thorn Ey 248 

Tothill-fields prison 322 

Tothill-fields Trust 202, 220, 318 
Tournaments held in 251,256, 


Trained bands, the 286-9 

Trials by battle, &c., in 259, 260, 
261-3, 543 


Tothill-fields — continued. 

' Up Fields ' 271,306 

'View' by High Bailiff of 

electors in 489-92 

Vincent- square, enclosure 

Well's Bear-garden 
Wyatt's Insurrection 
Tothill-fields Bridewell 
Tothill-fields Prison 
Tothill-fields Trust 20: 

... 269 
... 263 
... 322 
o, 3'8, 
Tower at south-west corner of 

Church 36, 50 

Towers, supposed reason of 

erection 39, 40 

Townshend Schools 230, 231, 443 

Trafalgar-square riots 487 

Trained bands, the 286-7, 288, 289 
Tramway in Vauxhall-bridge- 

road 470 

Treasurers of parish 179 

Trevclyan, Rev. ]]\ B., M.A. 5, 236 

Trial of the fire-engine 141 

Trials by battle and ordeal 259-263 

TucJ:er, Mr. F.J. 244 

Tufton-street 217, 270, 412, 461-9, 

Turle, Rev. J V. H. , M.A . 5,117, 
235. 236 

Turf on, Dean T/ios. 


Tivining, Rev. IV. H. G. 

Tyburn tickets 

Tyrconnell, Lord, on state of 
Westminster streets 





LTnited Vestry, reconstitution 206 
United Westminster almshouses 

407, 496-500, 540 
United Westminster schools 540 
Unlucky pinnacle, an ... 36, 50 
'Up Fields' 271,306 


Vandon, Cornelius 536-8 

Vanbrugh, Sir John 36, 37-8, 42 

Vaults 67 

Vauxhall-bridge 203, 344-6, 381-4 
Vauxhall-bridge-road 255, 316, 319, 
370, 396, 469-71, 526 
Vauxhall-gardens 379-80, 387, 390 
Vestry, The — 

Instrument appointing ... 191-3 



Vestry, The — continued. 

Relations with St. Margaret's 

Powers and duties 
Amendment Act of 1887 

Vestry Clerks, list of 

Vidler, Mr. Jo/ut 

'View' by High Bailiff in 

Villa, Rev. J., M. A. 

Vincettl, G. G 

Vincent, Dr. William 



... 189 

361, 482 



... 81 

• 309. 313 
86-7, 409, 

!ii-i3. 438 
. 318. 397. 
471, 506 
Vincent-street, place, &c. 311, 318, 

Vme cultivation in Westmin- 
ster 252, 

Vine-street 251, 396, 422 

Volunteer movement 146, 475-84 

Vincent-square 309-1: 




Wagers of battle 256, 259 

Wake, Archbishop 399 

Wake. Mr. Hall 62 

Walcoit, Rev. Mackenzie E. C. 412 

Walcott-street 396,472 

Wapshott, Thomas 462 

Wards, area of 

original five wards 

present three wards 

Warner, Rev. A. G., M.A. 5, 92, 

1 17, 225, 226 

Warwick-street 255, 313, 316, 396 


Water Ledger, the 337 

Watch, The' 208-11 

Water Mill, the Abbey ... 348-9 
Water supply of parish 205, 346-7 

Watering of roads 205 

Well's Bear-garden 269 

Wesleyan Chapel, Horseferry- 

road 246 

Wesleyan Training College... 516 
Wesleys, the, in Westminster 415, 


Western Dispensary 503 

Westminster, Duke of,K.G. 128,543 
Westminster and Eton boat- 
races 337 

Westmmster and Lambeth Re- 
gatta 335 

Westmmster Bridge y^^i, 338, 343, 

VVestmmster District Board of 

Works 206 

Westminster elections ... 488-94 
Westminster Mechanics In- 
stitution -06, 509 

Westmmster Nursing Com- 
mittee 504, 536 

Westminster Petty Sessions ... 215 
Westminster Police Court 311, 505 
Westminster Technical Fund 540 
Westminster Tobacco box 1 56, 

Westminster Volunteers 475-84' 

Wheeler-street 473 

'White Horse and Bower,' the 418 
Whicher's Almshouses ... 17, 540 
Whister's (Whitster's or Whist- 
ler's) ground 423 

Wiglesworth, Rev. J. L., M.A. 1 16 
Wilbe7'force, William ... 476, 481 
IV il cocks, Bishop J. ... 120, 438 
Wild flowers in Tothill-fields 252 
Willes, Dr, Edxvard 34, 81-2, 542 
Wilkinson, Rev. B., M.A. ... 119 

Williams, William 370 

Willow Walk, the 255, 271, 313, 
314, 315, 316, 472 

Windmill in Tothill-fields 


Windows of Church 56, 58, 59, 66, 

broken by boys of West- 
minster School... 

Wilton, Earl of 


Wodsivorth, Rev. C, M. 

Wood, Mr. J. 

Wood, Mr. J. Carter 
Wood-paving first laid in 



Woollen, burial in ... 


Wright, Air. Charles 
Wyatfs insurrection 

Zijizan, Mr. 

357> 472 
396, 472. 




.. 509 





A cknotvleds:inents. 


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Thornbury, W. — Haunted London, ed. 1880. 
Timbs, John. — -Romance of London, i?>6^; Curiosities of London and IVest- 

miitster, 1867 ; London and Westminster .- strange events . . . of 

Metropolitan Life, 1868 ; No.iks and Corners of Lingliih Life, 1867 ; 

Clubs and Club Life in London, ivith anecdotes of . . . Taverns, iSyz. 
Times, The, and the files of other London daily papers. 
Town Spy, The, 1725. 

Walcott, J. M. — Memorials of Westminster, 1849 and 1851. 
Walford, E — Old an I New London : Londiniana, 1879. 
Weekly Journal, The, 1735. 
West London Press and other local newspapers. 
Westminster Poll-Book, 1818. 

Whitelocke, Sir Bulstrode. — Memorials of the English Affairs, 1862. 
Widmore, R. — Inquiry into First Foundation of Westminster Abbey, 1751 ; 

History of the Church of St. Peter, 1751. 
Williams, F. — Memoirs and Correspondence of Btsliop d',anci% Atterbury, 1869. 
Wilmot's Queens of England. 
Wriothesley's Chronicle, 1485 — 1559. 

(The above List is by no means complete.) 

















December^ i8g2. 

Like April morning clouds, that pass, 

With varying shadow o'er the grass, 

And imitate on field and furrow. 

Life's chequered scene of joy and sorrow ; 

Like streamlet of the mountain north, 

Now in a torrent racing forth, 

Now winding slow its silver train, 

And almost slumbering on the plain ; 

Like breezes of the Autumn day, 

Whose voice inconstant, dies away, 

And ever swells again as fast. 

When the ear deems its murmur past ; 

Thus various my [historic] theme 

Flits, winds, or sinks, a morning dream. 

Yet pleased, our eye pursues the trace 

Of Light and Shade's inconstant race ; 

Pleased, views the rivulet afar, 

Weaving its maze irregular ; 

And pleased, we listen as the breeze 

Heaves its wild sigh through Autumn trees ; 

Then wild as cloud, or stream, or gale, 

Flow on, flow unconfined, my Tale! 



Finding the pen, the paper, and the wax, 
These at command, and now invention lacks : 
This sentence serves, and that my hand outstrikes ; 
That pleaseth well, and this as much mislikes, 
I write, indite, I point, erase, I quote, 
I interline, I blot, correct, I note." 


" Whoever thinks a fau Itless ' Iwok ' to see. 
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be." 

Inimitable literary ability — " choice word and measured 
phrase above the reach of ordinary men "^ — have so freely 
been bestowed upon the chronicles of Westminster, that the 
critic's eye may be expected to turn eagerly to a simple 
effort to add a few further pages to its history. To allay 
any such avidity, let it be said at once that no pretence is 
here made to compete with the literary merit, the area 
surveyed, or the research accomplished, from which 
Smith's Antiquities (1807) or Walcott's Memorials (1849) 
may be said to have derived their value as standard works 
on Westminster. Nor is any attempt made to tell tales of 
distress and misery, of broken fortune and ruined hopes, of 
unrelieved wretchedness and successful knavery which the 
author of Sketches by Boz associated with the two 
wo^ds ' the parish.' No highly coloured romance, no 
extraordinary adventure, no sanguinary battle, no brilliant 
biography will here be found. All that is attempted is a 
mere analectic and fragmentary epitome, gleaned for the 
most part from the official records and other manuscripts 
of the small and comparatively unnoticed parish of St. 
John the Evangelist. But as we turn to these records and 

4 Preface. 

manuscripts, and supplement the extracts therefrom wi a 
few items from pubHcations now becoming rare — 

" A thousand fantasies 
Begin to throng into the memory, 
Of calHng shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, 
Of airy tongues that syllable men's names 
On sands and shores and desert wildernesses." 


Some of the facts here presented will probably be within 
the recollection of many an aged inhabitant, who happily 
survives in the enjoyment of a well-earned but modest 
retirement from commercial and administrative business. 
And if, as — 

To the sessions of sweet silent thought 

He summon up the remembrance of the ast — 


he, and those who follow worthily in his footprints, find 
sufficient variety to impart interest or to excite an indul- 
gent excusal of many shortcomings and other imperfections, 
the author will have satisfaction in the thought that his 
pleasant relaxations by the light of the midnight oil have 
not been in vain. 

The numerous sources of information to which reference 
has been made being separately scheduled, there only 
remains the agreeable but bounden duty of acknowledging 
with sincere gratitude the courteous and valuable assistance 
cheerfully given by the undermentioned gentlemen : — 

Bishop, Michael Holman, Esq., Churchwarden, for 
access to the Registers, to the Church plate, to 
the " Snuff Box," and to the records of the Infant 

Blackley, Rev. Canon, M.A., for information relating 
to the Church and parish of St. James-the-Less: ' 

Cook, James, Esq., for statistics of the schools in the 
parish. ; 

Cozens, Rev. W. R., D.D., for particulars concerning 
Holy Trinity Church, Bessborough-gardensi ■ ■ ■ 

Preface. 5 

Dickson, Rev. G. D. W., M.A., for memoranda relating 

to the Church and parish of St. James-the-Less. 
Elliot, John Lettsom, Esq., for personal reminiscences 

extending over more than eighty years. 
Ford, Francis, Esq., for access to printed records of the 

Architectural Museum. 
Hipwell, Daniel, Esq., for notes made at much 

personal labour from his valuable collection, upon 

the Rectors, the Curates, and the Lecturers from 

1728 to the present time. 
Hutchins, John P., Esq., for interesting items on the 

parochial patriotism. 
Jones, Rev. Gustavus, M.A., for personal recollections 

of Archdeacon Jennings. 
Malone, Rev. Richard, M.A., for particulars relating to 

the Church and parish of St. Matthew. 
Margrie, Mr. James, for the loan of papers referring to 

St. John's Club. 
Miller, Rev. George, M.A., for information with respect 

to the Church and parish of Holy Trinity, Bess- 
Miller, George Taverner, Esq., J. P., for personal 

recollections of his and his late father's church- 

wardenship of the parish. 
Oxley, Mr. W. E. Harland, for access to his valuable 

collection of newspaper cuttings. 
Poole, Mr. Henry E., for special facilities of reference 

to the contents of the Public Library. 
Reatchlous, H. A., Esq., M.A., B.Sc, for the loan of 

books and papers relating to the Wesleyan Training 

Safford, A. H., Esq., for opportunities of perusing 

some of the early records of the Westminster 

Police Court. 
Tayton, Mr. Thomas Joseph, for personal remini- 
scences of the parish eighty years ago. 

6. Preface. 

Trevelyan, Rev. W. B., M.A., and 
Turle, Rev. W. H., M.A., for information with 
reference to the Church and parish of St. Matthew. 
Warner, Rev. A. G., M.A., for notes on the Church 
and parish of St. Mary-the- Virgin. 
The author also takes the opportunity of expressing his 
indebtedness to one of his official colleagues, Mr. G. P. W. 
Terry, for able assistance ungrudgingly given, at the 
sacrifice of much personal leisure, in the collection of 
materials, and generally in the production of the essay. 

Should the perusal of its pages present pleasure, or even 
information to the reader's view, he may perhaps call to 
mind Byron's conciliatory lines: — 

" We must not quarrel for a blot or two ; 
But pardon equally to books or men, 
The slips of human nature and the pen." 

The Parish. 

Chapter I. 


This is the place 

Let me review the scene, 
And summon from the shadowy Past, 

The forms that once have been. 


Origin. — Instrument setting out boundaries. — Wards. — Plans. — Phy- 
sical and Geological Features. — Area. — Population. — Ecclesiastical 

A UTHORITIES are divided as to the origin of the 
division of England into parishes. Some declare the 
institution to have had an ecclesiastical derivation, others 
that civil parishes existed long anterior to ecclesiastical 
distinctions, and were merely sub-divisions of the ancient 
hundred. By some the date of the institution of civil 
parishes is fixed at 1 179, while others assert that it became 
general in the 9th and loth centuries, that legislation on 
the subject is to be: found in the laws of Edgar about 970, 
and that the parochial division followed, in a great measure, 
the civil distribution into manors. Apparently adopting 
this view, Walcott states that " Westminster was nothing 
more than a rural manor belonging to the Abbey, until its 
ecclesiastical lords constituted the whole to be one parish, 
that of St. Margaret ; of the boundaries of which the earliest 
notice we possess is in a charter of King Offa, A.D. 785-" 
Onwards from this early period for nearly a thousand years 
(until 1724) the ' terra incognita ' we are about to perambu- 
late was comprised within the parish of the Virgin Martyr 
of Antioch. As we saunter fitfully within its limits, we 
shall not be tempted to turn aside to explore any Roman 
tumuli — nothing but a small coin, brought to light in the 
course of some excavations in Marsham-street, has been 

S Rural Character. 

transmitted to us from that remote era — nor shall we be 
able to connect ' the parish ' with the Saxon day otherwise 
than by an incidental allusion to the ancient marsh of 
Tothill Fields as " Bulinga Fen " in the charter of King 
Edgar ; no Norman architecture will meet the eye, nor are 
there any Plantagenet traditions to interest us ; and there 
is but little to associate the locality with the Tudor period. 
The Stuart dynasty, before and after the Commonwealth, 
however, saw the gradual settlement of inhabitants along 
the river side, " the banck leading to the myll and the horse 
ferrie" southwards, and in Orchard-street as it stretched 
itself westward. The history of the parish is rather that of 
original development than of decay and restoration, for 
until the middle of the seventeenth century a few houses, 
two or three small farms where — 

" Deep fields of grain the reaper mowed, 

In meadows rich the heifers lowed ;" 


and a considerable area of low-lying, marshy land extended 
to that part of the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields which 
(since absorbed in St. George, Hanover Square) lay between 
Westminster and Chelsea. Swampy ground, hidden here 
and there by " the green mantle of the stagnant pool," 
existed in the part now known as Warwick-street, Churton- 
street, Charlwood-street, and the western end of Rochester- 
row, and patches of garden ground distinguished the cul- 
tivated from the generally waste character of the soil. On 
the site of the Gas Company's premises was Eldrick's 
nursery, which supplied the surrounding district with fruit 
and flowering shrubs, as the Abbey vineyard had supplied 
the monks in the olden time with many a vintage. 

One of the original vestrymen, appointed by the Com- 
missioners, was described as a ' farmer '; Richard Ferryman, 
a farmer, of Horseferry Road, was elected 29th December, 
1736, and several persons were assessed for 'farms' and 
' fields ' in their occupation down to the first quarter of the 
present century. 

Commissioners' Instrument. g 

Tothill Fields had but a few lonely cottages in their 
midst until 1810, when the commencement of the new 
bridge at Vauxhall cast the shadow of impending change. 
So partially disturbed, however, was this locality in 1820, 
that the tower of St. Luke's Church, Chelsea, then in course 
of erection, was clearly distinguishable from the back win- 
dows of the houses in Marsham-street. 

By an instrument enrolled in the High Court of Chancery 
on 8th January, 1724, " to describe and ascertain the bounds 
and limits of a new parish in the parish of St. Margaret, 
Westminster," the Commissioners appointed by King 
George I. to give effect to the Act of Queen Anne for the 
building of fifty new churches, directed that there should be 
a parish for the new church then about to be erected. They 
also " set out, ascertained and appointed the limits and 
bounds, district and division of the said new parish," which 
are thus described : — 

" The limits and bounds shall be and begin at and from the Parlia- 
ment Stairs at low water mark sixteen feet and a half to the North of 
the angle of Captain Tufnell's Wharf, and from thence running up to 
the middle of the gateway at the East end of the paved passage on the 
south of the Prince's Chamber, being the passage leading from the 
said Parhament Stairs into the Old Palace Yard, keeping the middle 
of the said passage all along into Old Palace Yard, about eight feet 
and a half past the corner of a house called the Old Star and Garter, 
fronting towards Old Palace Yard ; from thence turning square 
towards the South, and proceeding directly to the middle of the 
entrance into Dirty Lane, and from thence still keeping South all 
along the middle of Dirty Lane to a point in the middle of the 
entrance into College Street, then proceeding down the very middfe 
of College Street Westward home to a street called the Bowling Alley, 
then crossing the said street about fifteen feet to the South of the Old 
Stone Gateway and turning square to the South for about twenty feet, 
and then square to the West into a passage on the South on the 
Rainbow Alehouse, in the possession of Mr. Figg, and from thence 
keeping the middle of the said passage to the West, home to the East 
side of Smith Street, then crossing the said street in a direct line 
towards the North end into Stable Yard, keeping the middle of the 
said yard going Westward to the East end of Orchard Street, between 
the house of Mr. Wisdom and the house of Mr. Gooden, then adjoin- 
ing into the Channel or Denter Stone in the middle of Orchard Street, 
keeping the middle of the said street Westward home to the middle of 

lO Comuiissioiicrs Instrument. 

the entrance turning into N w Pye Street, leading into Old Pye 
Street, unto the middle of the channel of Old Pye Street opposite to a 
street called Perkin's Rents, thence going up the middle of the said 
street towards the West, home to the East side of Duck Lane, then 
crossing the said lane into the middle of Pear Street and keeping 
Westward directly across Straton Ground, between the house on the 
North in possession of Mr. Bill, and the house on the South in posses- 
sion of Mr. Lloyd straight to the East door of the Military Ground, 
then crossing the Military Ground to the West door of the said Ground 
into the common highway about three feet from thence, turning to the 
South, keeping all along by the wall of the Military Ground up to the 
South-west angle of the said ground, thence crossing obliquely to the 
angle of the rails of the Green Coat H-ospital, keeping by the East side 
of the said rails, thence crossing by the West end of the gardens of 
Hill's Almshouses directly to a footway commonly called the Willow 
Walk, near the Feathers Alehouse, in the possession of Mr. Keys, 
excluding the said house ; and from thence along the footway West- 
ward to the Willow Walk Bridge, which is accounted the old boundary 
of St. Margaret's parish, and so Southward along the common sewer 
and King's Scholars' Pond, which as is supposed doth or did divide the 
two parishes of St. Margaret and St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Middlesex, 
down to the North side of the river of Thames to the low water mark, 
and thence along to the said shore or beach to the angle or point near 
Captain Tufnell's Wharf before mentioned, and there ending where 
this description first began ; and the limits and bounds so described 
shall be the limits and bounds of the said new parish, on the respective 
* thereof abutting as aforesaid ; and that all the houses 
being in number eight hundred and fifty or thereabouts, and all the 
buildings, grounds, and hereditaments, situate, lying, and being within 
the limits and bounds aforesaid (which are more plainly described by 
the several red lines in the scheme or ground plot hereto annexed) 
shall be the district and division of and for the said new church." 

Adopting modern nomenclature, the boundaries may more 
briefly be described as commencing at Parliament-stairs, 
crossing Abingdon-street, passing along the centre of 
Great College-street and the south side of Dean's-yard, 
crossing Great Smith-street into Orchard-street, thence 
through Pear-street, thence crossing Strutton-ground, fol- 
lowing an oblique north-westerly line and crossing Victoria- 
street to a point marked in the footway fronting Palmer's- 
passage. Hence the line re-crosses the street and pursues 
its course along Artillery-row, Cobourg-row, Buckingham- 
cottages, crossing Vauxhall Bridge-road at the intersection 
of Rochester-row and Warwick-street, to the crown of the 

* Blank in original copy. 

Original Wards. 1 1 

King's Scholars' Pond sewer beneath the centre of Tach- 
brook-street, along which it is drawn through the Gas Light 
and Coke Company's Works in Bessborough-street to the 
foreshore of the river opposite Nine Elms, there turning in 
a north-easterly direction and proceeding beneath the cen- 
tre arches of Vauxhall and Lambeth Bridges to a point 
opposite Parliament-stairs. 

At the constitution of the parish there were five wards 
or divisions wholly or partly within its bounds,* viz.: — 

Part of Palace Yard Ward, including Parliament Stairs, Lindsey's 
Lane or Dirty Lane, Abingdon Buildings, and part of College Street. 

Part of Deanery Ward, including Smith Street and part of Stable 

Part of Sanctuary Ward, including Bowling Alley, Oliver's Court, and 
part of College Street. 

Millbank Ward, including Piper's Ground, Black Dog Alley, Horse- 
ferry Bank, Garden Grounds, Grosvenor Street, and therein Wisdom 
Alley, Market Street, and therein Goodchild Alley, Horseferry Road, 
and therein Garden Ground, Marsham's Street, and therein Blood 
Grounds, Hearn Court, and therein Lumley Street, Tufton Street, 
Vine Street, Campion Alley, Millbank, Church Street, Smith's Square, 
North Street, Wood Street, Cowley Street, Barton Street, Inglish's 
Wharf, French's Wharf, Killham's Wharf, Mackriff's Wharf, Prat's 
Wharf, Bell Wharf, Crooked Billet Wharf, Tapping's Wharf, Gray's 
Wharf, Catchcart's Wharf, Norris's Wharf, and Meal Wharf 

Peter Street Division, including Great St. Ann's Lane, Jones's Court, 
and Pipe-makers' Alley ; part of Orchard Street ; part of New Pye 
Street ; part of Old Pye Street, Little St. Ann's Lane, and Parker's 
Rents, part of Duck Lane, part of Pear Street, part of Artillery Ground 
and Artillery Wall, part of Strutton Ground, Peter Street, Leg Court, 
Laundry Yard, Providence Court, Whister's Ground, part of Adam-a- 
digging Yard, Tothill Fields, and Rochester Row. 

For purposes of civil administration the parish was 

divided, under the provisions of the Metropolis Local 

Management Act of 1855, into three Wards, which are 

thus described by Mr. George Baugh Allen, Barrister-at- 

Law, the Commissioner appointed by Sir George Grey, 

the Home Secretary, to set them out : — 

Ward No. i. — All such parts of the- Parish of St. John the 
Evangelist, Westminster, as lie* west of a line commencing at the point 
of the south-western boundary of the said Parish opposite the middle 

* Seymour's Survey, Vol. IL, 1735- 

1 2 Present Wards. 

of Moreton Street, and drawn thence in a north-easterly direction 
along the middle of Moreton Street, to and along the middle of 
Chapter Street to the middle of Regency Street, and northwards along 
the middle of Regency Street to the middle of the Horseferry Road, 
and northward along the middle of such road and along the middle of 
Strutton Ground to the north boundary of the said Parish at the point 
at which the same crosses the middle of Strutton Ground. 

Ward No. 2. — All such parts of the said Parish as arc bounded as 
follows (that is to say) : — 

Bounded towards the north by the boundary line dividing the said 
Parish of St. John the Evangelist from the Parish of St. Margaret, 
Westminster, from the point at which the same crosses the middle of 
Strutton Ground to the eastern extremity of the said boundary line in 
the River Thaijies. 

Bounded towards the west by the boundary line of Ward No. i, 
hereinbefore described, from the point at which the parish boundary 
crosses the middle of Strutton Ground to the point in the middle of 
Regency Street opposite the middle of Page Street. 

Bounded towards the south by a line drawn from the last-mentioned 
point to and along the middle of Page Street to its eastern end, from 
thence east to the eastern boundary of the said parish in the River 

Bounded towards the east by that part of the parish boundary in the 
River Thames lying between the eastern extremities of the southern 
and northern boundaries of the said Ward No. 2, hereinbefore 

Ward No. 3. — All parts of the said Parish of St. John the 
Evangelist which are not included and described in the Wards Nos. i 
and 2. 

A reduced fac-siinik of the plan to which reference is 
made in the Instrument of the Commissioners of 1724 has 
been made expressly for incorporation herein, and is placed 
opposite a modern map of the parish, corrected as nearly 
as possible to date, and showing the sub-division into 

In the excavations for the foundations of the Victoria 
Tower, at the south end of the Houses of Parliament, the 
workmen came upon thick layers of peaty soil. A similar dis- 
covery was made during the preparations for the construction 
of Millbank Prison, which was erected on such "shifting 
sand " as to necessitate an exceptionally costly foundation 
of piles and concrete. These experiences confirm the 
assertion of an engineer who was extensively engaged in 

Reduced copy of t lie plan of the Parish referred fa in the Instriinient of 182^, 

(See page 10.) 

Plati of the Parish in iS(p2, shozving the V/ards as set out in iSjS- 

Sub-soil and level. 13 

connection with excavations for the sewerage system of 
Westminster, nearly half a century ago, that beneath the 
surface soil in many parts of the parish was to be found 
evidence that before any artificial obstructions or drainage 
existed the storm waters carried with them towards the 
river enormous quantities of sand, which now forms a thick 
stratum underlying a great part, if not the whole of the 
parish. Mr. Ridgway, in his Gem of TJwrney Island., 
(i860), says that from the hills of Highgate and Hampstead 
" the ground declined more gently until it subsided into a 
deep morass, extending over the whole of that fashionable 
locality known to us as the aristocratic Belgravia. Between 
this barren waste and the river lay a still more hopeless 
marsh." These views are borne out by a report presented 
to the Metropolitan Commissioners of Sewers in 1848. From 
this it appears that " the ground forming the present surface 
is artificial to a depth of from four to eight feet, partly the 
accumulation of ages," and partly, it may be added, by the 
deposit of a portion of the soil excavated in the formation 
of St. Katharine's Docks, whence it wasconveyed in enormous 
quantities by water to Millbank. "The subsoil is composed 
of a layer of vegetable earth of a peaty nature, beneath 
which, to a depth of about 40 feet, to the blue clay forma- 
tion, it is sand intermixed with gravel. This thick bed of 
sand," continues the Commissioners' Report, "from its 
permeability, is constantly charged with a large quantity 
-of water which, being acted upon by the pressure of the 
tide, rises and falls somewhat with it." A large portion of 
the parish is only slightly above the level of high tide; 
much lies below it. Millbank street is said to be four feet 
four inches above high water mark, Old Pye street five-and- 
a-half inches above, and the vicinity of Cobourg row just 
twelve inches below that standard. 

In superficial area Ward No. i is 58 acres; Ward No. 2, 
67 acres; and Ward No. 3, 86 acres; the whole area being 
rather less than a third of a mile. The exact measurement, 

14 Population. 

211 acres, corresponds with that of St. Margaret's parish 
and the Close of St. Peter, exclusive of Knightsbridge. 

At the constitution of the parish in 1724 the number of 
houses was computed to be 850, the estimated population 
at the time being 4,2 50; the Cen.sus Commissioners' Reports 
furnish the following figures: — 

I 801 















3,073 • 














In 1724 the number of houses and persons to each acre 
was slightly over 4 and 20 respectively; in 1891 it was 18 
and 162. The decrease which took place between 1871 and 
1 88 1 was caused by the demolition of many small houses in 
thfe overcrowded neighbourhood of Orchard-street and 
Old Pye-street, under an Order of the Home Secretary, 
and the erection, on the site, of a much larger number of 
so-called "model dwellings." A reliable calculation of the 
average number of persons resident in each house cannot 
be made, inasmuch as the Census Returns for 1891, by way 
of example, put the number of inhabited houses at 3,867, 
while the parish rate books give the number of assessments 
at 4,717. It will be observed, however, that during the last 
ten years the houses increased by 257, while the population 
decreased by 1,404. 

In addition to the sub-division into Wards for civil pur- 

* Mr. Walcott's statement that the parish contained i,6oo houses in 1735 
appears to have been made on the authority of Seymour's survey. 

Ecclesiastical Sub-divisions. I 5 

poses, there are five ecclesiastical districts, not including 
that reserved to the parish church, viz. : — St. Mary the 
Virgin, Tothill-fields, Holy Trinity, Bessborough-gardens, 
St. Matthew, Great Peter-street, St. Stephen, Rochester- 
row, and St. James-the-Less, Upper Garden-street. The 
reader will be asked to take a passing glance at each of 
these districts and churches in the course of his ramble 
round the parish. On the way to our starting point, which 
will be at the parish church, we may recall Sir Roger de 
Coverley's observation in one of his water journeys from 
the Temple Stairs to the Spring Gardens, Vauxhall, he 
having, as usual, engaged a waterman with a wooden 
leg.* After a short pause the old knight turned his head 
to take a survey of the great Metropolis and bade his com- 
panion observe how thickly the City was set with 
churches, while there was scarcely a single steeple on this 
side of Temple Bar. "A most heartrending sight," said Sir 
Roger, " there is no religion at this end of the town. The 
fifty new churches will much mend the prospect ; but 
church work is slow, church work is slow." 

* " You must know," said Sir Roger, " I never make use of anybody to row 
me that has not either lost a leg or an arm. I would rather bate him a few 
strokes of his oar than not employ an honest man that has been wounded ih 
the Queen's service. If I was a lord or a bishop, and kept a barge, I would 
not put a fellow in my livery that had not a wooden leg." 

1 6 TJic CInirch. 

Chapter II. 

' What is a Church ' V Our honest sexton tells 

' 'Tis a tall building, with its tower and bells ; 

' Where priest and clerk, with joint exertion strive 

' To keep the ardour of their flock alive ; 

' That, by his periods eloquent and grave ; 

' This, by responses and a well-set stave' : 

'Tis to this Church I call thee, and that place 

Where slept our fathers when they'd run their race." 


" Then I remembered 'twas the Sabbath day. 

Immediately a wish arose in my mind 

To go to church and pray with Christian people. 

* » * 

So entering in, not without fear, 
I passed into the family pew, 
And covering up my eyes for shame, 
And deep perception of unworthiness. 
Upon the little hassock knelt me down 
Where I so oft had kneeled." 


Enquiry by Royal Commission-Purchase of Site — Date and Cost of 
Erection — Consecration — Ornaments — Destruction by Fire — Res- 
toration — Sir John Vanbrugh and Thomas Archer — Various Opin- 
ions on Architecture — Services — Organ — Damage by Lightning — 
Internal Restoration and Alteration — the Church Plate — Windows 
— Monuments and Inscriptions — Clock — Vaults. 

A RRIVED, as by gravitation, at the one edifice in 
which every parishioner may be said to have a 
sacred interest, we pause before entering, not to ask 
the date of its foundation, nor to comment on the source 
where the cost was provided. These give rise to no uncer- 
tain speculations ; they are ' public property.' Rather we 
pause to reflect upon the circumstances which led to the 
erection of a church, with a civil parish, within the small 
area (422 acres, exclusive of Knightsbridge), over which the 
mother parish and the precincts of the Abbey extended. 
Who advised the choice of a site so near the mother church ? 
What was the condition of the parish that such a division 

Church accommodation. \y 

was rendered necessary ? To the first of these questions an 
answer, ready to hand, is given hereafter ; but a diligent 
search among the records, aided by the courteous assistance 
of the hbrarians at Lambeth Palace, at the Record Office, at 
the House of Commons, at the Privy Council Office, at the 
Diocesan Registry and elsewhere, has failed to supply an 
answer to the second. The report of the Royal Commis- 
sion, whose labours will be referred to presently, appointed 
to enquire in what parishes new churches were necessary, is 
not accessible ; but the possibility of the Commission 
having adopted the suggestions of Convocation is not over- 

In the parish church of St. Margaret, the accommoda- 
tion' had, at this time (1708), only recently been enlarged 
by the construction of Sir John Cutler's gallery ; there 
was near at hand the Broadway Chapel (now Christ 
Church) with more than 1,000 seats, easy of access to the 
parishioners living in and about Strutton-ground, Peter- 
street, Orchard-street, and Pye-street. Besides this the 
Duke-street Chapel and the Queen-square Chapel were 
newly available for public worship, while the smaller 
chapels of Emanuel Hospital, Emer}^ Hill's Almshouses, 
the Grey Coat Hospital, Whicher's Almshouses and 
Palmer's Almshouses, by meeting the requirements of the 
inmates, relieved to a corresponding degree the pressure on 
the space in the mother church and the Broadway Chapel. 
At first sight we might be inclined to conclude that these 
two spacious edifices were equal to the parochial needs ; but 
it is only necessary to say that the population of the mother 
parish was estimated at 16,000 souls. 

Reluctantly abandoning the search for information re- 
lating directly to the moral and spiritual condition of 
Westminster, we find abundant evidence relating to the 
Metropolis generally which, in the absence of any allusion 
to exceptional circumstances, may be taken as appl)'ing to 

1 8 Ecclesiastical disagreotients. 

The opening of the eighteenth century found the more 
prominent Divines much engaged in controversy and debate, 
with jealousy and disagreement prevailing between the 
Upper and Lower Houses of Convocation. As a conse- 
quence, the religious habits of the people became relaxed 
and presented an unedifying spectacle. Nevertheless, the 
period was not wholly without more cheerful signs in the 
foundation of the Society for the Diffusion of Christian 
Knowledge and the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel in Foreign Parts ; and Addison* bears witness to 
the institution of charity schools at this time, and applauds 
it as one of the greatest instances of public spirit the age 
had produced. The encouragement and liberal assistance 
given by the Queen in relinquishing her claim to the tenths 
and first fruits, while it had a great effect on the minds of 
her subjects,! did not allay a widespread uneasiness and 
murmuring that the established religion of the people was 
in great danger. On the contrary, this uneasiness was 
fanned into active excitement by the publication of a 
pamphlet:|:, which w^ould now be permitted to run its course, 
but which was then publicly burned before the Royal 

The debates in Parliament showed a singular mixture of 
politics and religion, which was by no means ameliorated 

* spectator, No. 294. 

t See Hodgson's Account of Queen Anne's Bounty, and Wilmot's Queens of 
England, from the latter of which the following is quoted : — 

" The liberality of the Sovereign towards the Established Church goes far to accour.t for 
the extraordinary veneration in which the donor of Queen Anne's Bounty was held long after 
her death. Her Majesty, on her accession, was entitled to the first-fruits and tenths of every 
benefice or dignity conferred by the Crown. With praiseworthy self-denial, Anne, instead of 
appropriating these gains to the amplification of her personal power or magnificence, formed 
with the money a fund to augment the miserable stipends which often fall to the lot of the 
most excellent of our clergy, and it has been carrying on its good work from that day to this. 
. . The extent of Anne's privy purse charity was unknown till after her death, for she gave 
without ostentation, and no flatterers were employed to trumpet her goodness. If she was 
frugal, it was to enable her to be generous, and all she could spare was returned to the people 
as her right. All this was done without anything that looked like sordid saving— no retrench- 
ing her servants at their tables, allowances or perquisites ; the hospitality within doors was 
equal to the charity without." 

J " A Memorial of the Church of England." The Queen issued a proclama- 
tion offering ;^l,ooo reward for the discovery of the author, but without success. 

Sacheverell, Atterbury. 19 

by a sermon preached before the Lord Mayor by Dr. 
Henry Sacheverell, Chaplain of St. Saviour's, Southwark, 
of which 40,000 copies were sold, nor by his impeachment 
before the House of Commons. The trial and the riots 
connected with it had their effect upon the public mind, 
and exercised an immediate influence on the new Parlia- 
ment and on Convocation, which met on the same day. 
Wordsworth thus refers to the state of public feeling at 

this time : — 

" Fears, true or feigned, 
Spread through all ranks ; and lo ! the sentinel 
Who loudest rang his pulpit larum bell. 
Stands at the bar. 

High and Low, 
Watchwords of party, on all tongues are rife ; 

As if a Church, though sprung from Heaven, must owe 
To opposites and fierce extremes her life — 

Not to the golden mean, and quiet flow 
Of truths that soften hatred, temper strife." 

Amongst the many matters recommended by the Queen 
for the consideration of Convocation was the drawing-up of 
a representation on the state of religion, with regard to the 
excessive growth of infidelity, heresy and profaneness. A 
statement was accordingly drafted by Dr. Atterbury, Dean 
of Carlisle,* who had been elected Prolocutor in preference 
to the nominee of the Archbishop. It reviewed at great 
length the license of the press, the frauds of pagan and 
popish priests, the selling of mock catechisms in the streets, 
the ill-effects of the revolution of 1688, the profaneness and 
licentiousness of the stage, and the gradual defection from 
piety and virtue to irreligious ignorance. After prolonged 
deliberation, the statement was adopted by the Lower 
House as answering the purpose intended by the Queen ; 
but the Bishops rejected it as magnifying the grievances 
and corruptions of the day. A counter representation 
agreed upon by the Upper House was discarded by the 
Clergy, and finally nothing was determined upon. 

* Atterbury was not installed in the Deanery of Westminster until 17 13. 

B 2 

20 Queen Anne intervenes. 

In a letter addressed to Convocation by the Queen* her 
Majesty writes : " It is with great grief of Heart Wee ob- 
" serve the scandalous Attempts which of late Years have 
" been made to infect the minds of our Good Subjects by 
" loose and prophane Principals openly scattered and pro- 
" pagated among them. Wee think the consultations of the 
" Clergy particularly requisite to repress these daring At- 
" tempts and to prevent the like for the future." The letter 
goes on to express a hope that the Queen's good inten- 
tions in that behalf " may not be defeated by any unrea- 
" sonable disputes between the two Houses of Convocation 
" about unnecessary Forms and Methods of proceeding." 
In a subsequent letter the Queen writes " I have done my 
" part, and expect that you will lay aside what may hinder 
" the good effect of my license, and apply yourselves heartily 
to those weighty matters." 

An active participator in these proceedings was Dr. 
Onley, Prebendary of St. Peter's, and for more than twenty 
years Minister-f- of St Margaret's. To his life-long con- 
nection with Westminster (he had been educated at West- 
minster School), and to his watchful interest and foresight, 
may probably be attributed the benefit Westminster derived 
from the accidental extrication from the deadlock just 

A violent storm, which occurred on the 28th November, 
1 7 10, caused much damage to property in London and the 
suburbs. The parish of Greenwich suffered by the total 
destruction of the church, already, by its ruinous condition, 
an easy prey for the hurricane. The inhabitants thereupon 

* Proceedings of the Lower House of Convocation, 1710 — 11. M.S. Lib. 
II, fo. 5 — 7, Lambeth Palace Library. 

t The Rectory of the parish vested in the Dean and Chapter. Nicholas 
Onley became a Westminster scholar through a singular accident. His father 
was the porter at a tavern in the Strand, and was one day sent on an 
errand by a gentleman of good family and fortune of the same name as himself- 
Struck by this coincidence, and pleased with the old man's appearance, the 
gentleman adopted young Nicholas, the porter's only son, sent him to school 
and left him his fortune. Dr. Onley died September 2Sth, 1724, aged 84. 

Parliamentary enquiry. 21 

petitioned Parliament for assistance to rebuild. In dealing 
with this petition the House took the opportunity of 
enquiring into the general subject of church accommoda- 
tion in the Metropolis, and were informed that the London 
churches, though numerous, were, with few exceptions, 
exceedingly small, and rather resembled village churches 
than such as were adapted to the rapidly growing popula- 
tion of a city like London. It was also asserted that in the 
suburbs there were 200,000 persons more than could 
possibly find accommodation in the existing churches. 
The House of Commons immediately appointed a Com- 
mittee, by whom the proffered co-operation of Convocation 
was readily accepted.* The Queen also sent a special 
message to Parliament on 29th March, 171 1 : — 
Anne R. 

Her Majesty having received an Address from the archbishop, 
bishops, and clergy of the province of Canterbury, in Convocation 
assembled, to recommend to the Parhament the great and necessary 
work of building more Churches within the Bills of Mortality, is 
graciously pleased to approve so good and pious a design ; and does 
accordingly very heartily recommend the carrying on the same, to this 
House, particularly in and about the cities of London and West- 
minster ; and does not doubt but effectual care will be taken in this 
matter, which may be so much to the advantage of the Protestant 
religion, and the firmer establishment of the Church of England. 

On the 6th April a report was presented by the Com- 
mittee, " that in the several parishes in and about the 
suburbs of the cities of London and Westminster fifty new 
churches are necessary, .... computing 4,750 souls to 
each church." The report having been referred to a Com- 
mittee of the whole House, and considered, the Speaker, 
with the House, waited on the Queen at St. James's, on 9th 
April, with the following address : — 

Most Gracious Sovereign, — We, your Majesty's most dutiful and 
loyal subjects, the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament assembled, 
have, with the utmost satisfaction, received your Majesty's gracious 
message, recommending to us the great and necessary work of building 
fifty new churches in and about the Cities of London and Westminster. 

* Cobbett. Parliamentary History, vol. vi. Burnet. Hist, of His Own 
Time, vols, v, and vi. Boyer Reign of Queen Anne, 

22 Coinuiissioji appoijitcd. 

We are sensible how much the want of them hath contributed to the 
increase of Schism and Irreligion, and shall not therefore fail to do 
our parts towards the supplying' that defect, being entirely disposed to 
promote everything that is for the interest of the established Church, 
and the honour of your Majesty's reign. Neither the long expensive 
War in which we are engaged, nor the pressure of heavy debts under 
which we labour, shall hinder us from granting to your Majesty what- 
ever is necessary to accomplish so excellent a design, which we hope 
may be a means of drawing down blessings from heaven on all your 
Majesty's other undertakings, as it adds to the number of those places 
where the prayers of your devout and faithful subjects will be daily 
offered up to God, for the prosperity of your Majesty's government at 
home, and the success of your arms abroad." 

The piety and liberality of the vote of Parliament is said 
to have given great pubHc satisfaction. The Act (9 Anne, 
cap. 22), which was passed to give effect to the vote, im- 
posed duties upon coals and culm brought into the Port of 
London, and directed that the income therefrom be applied 
for the building of fifty new churches, for the purchase of 
sites, and for the provision of church-yards and burial 
places in or near the cities of London and Westminster, or 
the suburbs thereof The Act also empowered the Queen 
to appoint Commissioners to enquire in what parishes new 
churches were necessary, and to report to the Queen and 
to Parliament before 24th December, 171 1 ; but no provi- 
sion was made for the formation of new parishes. In its 
enthusiasm, Parliament had under-estimated the time in 
which the Commission would be able to complete its 
enquiry and agree upon its report. Another Act was 
therefore passed in the following }'ear (10 Anne, cap. 1 1), to 
enlarge the time and extend the powers previously granted. 

The Commission did not, however, await this further 
legislation before setting about their trust in earnest, for on 
the 4th October, 171 1, they addressed a letter to the Vestry 
of St. Margaret, intimating their desire " to proceed in soe 
Useful and Pious a Work with all possible expedition," and 
calling for a return of the number of inhabitants, and of 
suitable sites for a church and churchyard, also enquiring 
whether there were any chapels within the parish fit to be 

Statement by St. Margaret s Vestry. 23 

made parish churches. The aid of the Burgesses and their 
Assistants was at once invoked in obtaining an enume- 
ration of the residents within the different wards ; but 
before this could be completed, and within a month from 
the date of their first letter, the Commission complained of 
the delay, and pressed for an immediate answer. This the 
Vestry agreed upon without delay : — 

To the Most Rev^- Father in God Thomas Lord Archbishop of 
Canterbury and the rest of the Hon'^'e Comrs appointed by her 
Matie Pursuant to a late Act of ParHam' (Intituled an Act for 
granting to her Matie severall Duties upon Coals for Building 
50 New Churches in and about the Cities of London and 

The Representacon of the Minister Churchwardens and Vestry of 
the Parish of St. Marg" Westmr in the County of Midd''' in 
Answer to a Letter Reed, bearing Date the 4th of Octob'' 171 1. 

That the Number of Souls in the Parish of St. Marg" Westmr as 
near as can be Computed is about Twenty Thousand. 

That the Condicon of the Inhabitants is such that the Rates with 
other monys allotted to the maintenance of the poor amount at 
this time to Three Thousand pounds p. ann. & is still likely to 

That in sev'i of the out parts of the sd Parish there are great 
number of Poor people which will make it very difficult to allow 
due proporcons of the Poor and Rich in case it shall be thought 
fit to erect any new Parish or Parishes within the said Parish 
of St. Margtt Westminster. 

That there is a peece of Ground of about Seaven Acres near Milbank 
in the said Parish which is freehold and the Estate of Henry 
Smith Esqre who has Declared his willingness to Dispose of 
an acre and a Quarter of the said Ground for the sume of Five 
hundred Pounds. 

That there is alsoe another peece of Ground at the end of Marsham 
Street being the Freehold Estate of Sir Robert Marsham, Bair 
Containing about an Acre fit for the same use, which Ground 
Sr Robert has sent word to the Vestry he is willing to part with 
but he being not in Town the Vestry dont know the price 

There is in the said Parish one Church commonly Called the New 
Chappell which holds upwards of 1200 People & in our Judg- 
ment the said Chappell is fit to be made Parochial. 

24 Purchase of site. 

That there are Two other Chappclls one in or near Queen Square 
& the other in Duke Street, neither of which in our Judgments 
are fit to be made Parochial. 

Cha : Battely, Thomas Bhssett, Tho : Wisdome, 
Edward Tufnell, Sam" Brown, Emery Arguis, 
(;eo : Mortimer, Robert Jeffes, Edward Chft, 

[Copie.] RICHD- FILER, ) Wardens. 

It is desired by this Vestry that the Revd Dr Niche: Onley with 
the Churchwardens wait on the said Comrs & p'sent the said 

On I St June, 17 13, a contract for sale and purchase of a 
parcel of ground was executed between Henry Smith, 
Treasurer to the Commissioners, John Lowndes, Secre- 
tary to the Treasury, and the Commissioners, for 
the sum of ;^700, which included sufficient land to 
form a new street, forty-five feet wide, to com- 
municate with Millbank-street, and an additional 
plot for the erection of a house for the minister 
of the intended new church. Seymour's Survey (1735) 
states that the church was commenced in 1721 ; but the 
" Declared Accounts " in the Public Record Office show 
that nearly ten thousand pounds had been paid to the 
builders before December, 171 5. 

The items relating to St. John's Church have been 
extracted for insertion here : — 

Cost of the Building of St. John's Church ; 

Extracted from the Dectared Accounts of the Treasurers of the 
Fund for building fifty New Churches in London and West- 
minster, I J 12 — 1741 ; Audit Office, Bundles 4^"/, 4j8, &^ 4jg, 
preserved at the Public Record Office. 

Bundle 437, Roll i (10 July 1712 — 25 Mar 1714. H. Smith, Treasurer). 

Henry Smith, Esq, for a piece of Ground for ye Scite of 
a Church & Ministers House Situate in ye Pish 
of St Margts Westmr in ye County of Midd" as by c 

like Warr' and the Agte of the said Mr. Smith ... vij//. 

Payments to binldei^s. 25 

* More to ye s^ Thos Hues and W"" Tuffnell, Brick- 
layers, employ'd to Build the New Church erecting 
w^hin the parish of St. Margarett, Westminster 
being pd & advanced to them by way of Imp^t for ye 
sd Service by a like Warr' dated the xi^h of Nov- 
emb"" 17 13 as by the sd Warr' & their Receipts ... viijV/. 

Roll 2 (25 Mar. 1714 — g Dec. 1715. H. Smith, Treasurer). 

Samuel Wood, Watchman, employed at the New Church 
erecting in the parish of St. Margarett, Westminster. 
By like Warrant and Acquittance ... ... xxxiiijV/. \\s. 

More to the said Thomas Hues and William Tuffnell, 
Bricklayers, employed to Build the New Church 
erecting within the Parish of S' Margarett West- 
minster being paid and advanced to them by way of 
Imprest for the said Service by a like Warrant dated 
xi'h of November 17 13. As by the said Warrant and c 

their Receipts viij//, 

Thomas Hues and William Tuffnell, Bricklayers, Em- 
ployed in Building the New Church in the parish of 
St. Margaretts Westminster Imprested to them upon 
Accompt of Bricklayers work by them done there, t t 
By Three Warrants, etc. etc. ... ... ... M.M.c.//. 

Edward Tuffnell and Edward Strong, Masons .... 

work by them performed at the said Church, &c., &c. v.M//. 

John Skeat in part and upon Accompt of Smith's work by c 

him done at the said Church, etc. etc. ... ... viij//. 

Robert Jeffes and John James, Imprested to them for c 

Carpenter's work done at the said Church, etc. etc. iiij//. 

George Norris by way of Imprest for Digging the ffoun- 

dation of the said Church, etc. etc. ... ... ... cxxx//. 

Roll 3 (9 Dec. 1715 — 24 June 1717. J. Leacroft, Treasurer). 

Edward Strong and Edward Tuffnell, Masons, for Masons 
work by them done and Materials Used in building 
the Church at Westminster within the years 17 13, 
1714, 1715 and 1716 M' c 

XIJ. VJ. IXVJ//. XV1J5-. 

John James and Robert Jeffes, Carpenters, for Carpen- 
ters work by them done and Material used in build- 
ing the said Church in the years 17 13, 17 14, and 

VJ. nijxvij/^. x\\\]S. xwyi. 
John Grove another Carpenter for Carpenters work by 
him done and Materials used in building the said 
Church in the year 17 13 IvjV/. x\s. 

* Previous payments for work at the churches at East Greenwich and St. 
George-the-Martyr. Nearly every one of the earlier tradesmen employed (in- 
cluding Hues and Tuffnell) were of the parish of St. Margaret. 

26 Payments to builders. 

Thorn Hues and William Tuffnell, Bricklayers, for Brick- 
layers work and Materials used in building the said 

Church in the years 1713, 1714, 1715, 1716 

t t t c 
M.M.M. vij. j//. xvjj-. ]d. 

John Skeat, Smith, for Smith's work by him done and 
Materials used in Building the said Church in the 

years 1713, 1714, 1715, 1716 J ?. .. 

M. vij. xj//. xviji-. yi. 

George Osmond, Plumber, for Plumbers work in the 

years 1714, 1715, 1716 ..?. .•■^>'. . ,. 

nij. nij. xix//. xvj-. \n. 

George Norris, Digger, for work by him done and 
Materials used, etc. in the years 17 13, 17 14, 171 5 

cxxij//'. xviijj-. \]d. 

Roll 4 (24 June 1717 — 29 Sept. 1718. J. Leacroft, Treasurer). 

John Grove, Carpenter, of the Parish of St. Clement 
Danes in part and upon Account of Carpenters 
work by him done at the new Church erecting in c 

the Parish of St. Margaret, Westminster ... ... \'li. 

[A payment on account to Edward Strong and Ed. Tuffnell, 
Masons, for work executed at six Churches then in course of 
erection including St. John's, Westminster, ^5,000.] 

[A payment on account to John Skeat for Smith's work at all the 
new Churches then building, ^^400.] 

[A payment on account to John Grove for Carpenters work at the 
new Churches in the Strand and at Westminster, ^500.] 

William Tuffnell, Bricklayer, on account for Bricklayers 

work at the new Church at Westminster ... ... xl//. 

Roll 5 (10 Jan. 1721-2 — 25 Dec. 1723. Nath. Blackerby, Treasurer). 

John Skeat for Smith's work and Materials delivered at 

the said Church ... ... ... ... ...xxxiij//. xjj-. xjV 

Edward Strong and Edward Tuffnell for masonry per- 
formed at the said Church ... ... cxxijV/. xiijj'. \]d. 

Thomas Hues and William Tuffnell for Bricklayers work 

ix. xix//. xvi'. '\]d. 

John Grove for Carpenters work ... ... iiij' Ixxviij//. \\]s. \]d. 

George Norris, Digger, for digging and levelling of earth 

about the foundations of the said Church ... xx\t/. xvs. 

John Reynolds, Painter, for Painting the Windows of the 

said Church viij//. iij.f. 

Richard Marplcs, Plumber, for Pig Lead for Running 

Cramps and Joints for the Masons work ... xij//. ijs. xijd. 

Thomas Hinton for money by him paid to John Mayfield, 
Labourer, for bringing the Cuttings of Lead from off 
the said Church and laying them into the Vault vij//. xvjs. 

Payments to builders. 27 

Bundle 43S, Roll 6 (26 Dec. 1723—25 liec. 1725. N. Blackerby, Treasurer). 

John Skeat, Smith, for work done and materials 

used ... ... ... ... ... ... xlix//. vijj. viijV. 

WiUiam Tuffnell, Bricklayer ... ... ... ...ccxiiijYz. xvj. 

John Langley, Joyner, for fframing the Timber and Pew- 

ing the Gallery of the said new Church viijVz". viijj. 

John Lock, Carpenter cclxxiij//. xiijj. vjV/. 

Roll 7 (26 Dec. 1725—25 Dec. 1727. N. Blackerby, Treasurer). 

To the Artificers and others undernamed employed in Building 

the New Church at Westminster : — ^ 
Edwd. Strong, Mason ... ... ... Mccclxix//. \\]s. v\\]d. 


William Tuffnell, Bricklayer ... ... ccciiijv/z. xvj-. viij^. 

John Lock, Carpenter 

William Langley, Joyner, and 

John Cleave, Smith 

Thomas Goff, Smith 
John Boson, Carver 

Isaac Mansfield, Plasterer 
James Preedy, Painter 
John Reynolds, Painter ... 
Geo. Osborn, Plumber ... 

Charles Scriven, Glazier ... 
John Turner, for Charcoal 

Roll 8 (26 Dec. 1727 — 25 Dec. 1729. N. Blackerby, Treasurer). 


Edward Strong, Mason ... v'liij//. xviijj-. vxxyi. 


Wm. Tufnell, Bricklayer ... ciiijxvij//. iiij\y. v^. 


John Lock, Carpenter 

John Boson, Carver 

John Cleave, Thos. GoflT and John Robins, 

George Deval, Plumber ... 
Isaac Mansfield, Plasterer 
George Clayfield and Jn"- Reynold, 

Painters ... ... ^ xvj/z. ixs. vVyf. 

John Mist, Pavior... ... vlxxvjY/. viji'. x^. ' 

Roll 9 (26 Dec. 1729—25 Dec. 1731.—N. Blackerby, Treasurer). 

John Boson, Carver ' xxij/z. v^-. xjd. 

Christopher Cass, Mason ... ... clx//. \xs. \yf. 

George Deval, Plumber Ixix//. x\\y/. 

... Mviij 'Ixxv/z' 

. viii.y 

'. j^. 

his (, 

vj 'xiij/z. 

















iiij J-. 










V ■ xli. 













Cost of building. 



iiij ■ iiijvjV/. 




XV j-. 







XV ]S. 


vij • iiij/z 

. ixs. 


N. Blackerby, Treasurer). 








XXX vj//. 









Thomas Gofif, Smith xxxij//. 

Nicholas Hawksmore, Esq. for making a 
Model of a Twisted Column and for 
his Disbursements for Watching ... ix//. 

c xx 

John Lock, Carpenter 

Isaac Mansfield, Plasterer 

John Preedy, Painter 

John Reynolds, Painter ... 
Charles Scriven, Glazier ... 

William Tufifnell, Bricklayer 

Bundle 439, Roll 10 (26 Dec. 1731 — 25 Dec. 1733. 

Christopher Cass, Mason 
Ann Clayfield Executor of George Clay- 
field, Painter 

George Deval, Plumber ... 

Thomas Gofif, Smith 

John Lock, Carpenter 

Wm. Tufifnell, Bricklayer 

. Roll II (In part duplicate of Roll 10). 

Roll 12 (26 Dec. 1733 — 24 June, 1736. N. Blackerby, Treasurer. 

Isaac Mansfield, Plasterer vli. \\\]s. vjd. 

John Mist, Pavior . . ... ... ... xx//. xv'ijs. v]d. 

Roll 13 (24 June 1736 — 29 Sept. 1741). 

From the following summary, which omits the pro- 
portionate parts of the consolidated payments (;^5,90o) made 
for several churches, architect's commission and proportion 
of salaries of secretary and treasurer, it will be seen that 
the cost was not less than ;/^ 40,87 5. 

Roll I 





Deduct cost of Site 




f 700 
\ 800 

(For Ground) 



... 17,917 


























h ^40,875 


Dedication of CJmrch. 


An analysis has also been made of the amounts paid to 
the different classes of artificers, viz. : — 


Carpenter and 
Digging Foun 












J. d. 

... 9,898 

4 5 

.. 1,678 


... 5,910 

9 9 


13 2 

... 20,035 

13 10 

• •• 1,339 

I 5 


5 II 


15 7 




5 4 


4 I 




9 6 

^^40,87 5 


Mr. Walcott records that " the title of the sacred building 
was derived from the chapel of that name in the Abbey ; 
for St. John the Evangelist was the patron saint of King 
Edward the Confessor, the pious founder of the mother 
church of St. Margaret, in which was held a fraternity of 
St. John." But it is not at all improbable that in 
dedicating the Church to St. John the Evangelist, the Com- 
mission were guided by Dr. Onley, who could not have 
taken an active interest for forty years or more in St. 
Margaret's and in the Abbey, without having gained some 
knowledge of the chapel dedicated to St. John the 
Evangelist, which had been lost to Westminster for nearly 
two centuries. During the reigns of Edward III. (1327) 
and Richard II. (1377) a chapel dedicated to St. John the 
Evangelist had existed in Westminster. Mr. J. T. Smith, 
in his Antiquities of Westminster., 1807, refers to a con- 
tention as to jurisdiction between the Abbot of St. Peter's 
and the Dean and Canons of St. Stephen's, which difference 
was settled by deed of compromise in 1394. In that deed 
the chapel of St. John the Evangelist was specially 
reserved. After a close examination of local details the 
author of the valuable work just named (pp. 104 and 127; 

30 Consecration. Ornaments. 

fixed the position of the chapel as being to the south of the 
chapel of St. Stephen, and on the site of Cotton Garden, 
close to the Painted Chamber. The chapel, which was sup- 
pressed by Edward VI. (1547), had an annual revenue of 
i^i,o85 I OS. 5d. 

Seventeen years elapsed between the purchase of the site 
and the consecration ceremony. The building operations, 
which occupied fifteen years of this time, were prolonged by 
difficulties which the porous nature of the subsoil occa- 
sioned, and which, as will be hereafter seen, caused an 
alteration in the design. Early in 1728 the structural work 
was completed, and the parishioners, with others who had 
been impatiently awaiting the withdrawal of the workmen, 
welcomed the assembling of the Commissioners, the neigh- 
bouring clergy, and the choristers from the Abbey, over 
whom, as 

They entered now the aisles so tall, 
The darkened roof rose high aloof 

On pillars lofty, and light and small. 


The ceremony of consecration, which took place on 20th 
June, 1728, was performed by Dr. Bradford, Bishop of 
Rochester and Dean of Westminster, assisted by Dr. Gee, 
Minister of St. Margaret's, and Dr. Charles Pinfold, on 
behalf of the Dean and Chapter. The sermon was preached 
by Dr. Denn, Minister of Shoreditch," and son-in-law to the 
Bishop. The Proctor's bill of costs incidental to the cere- 
mony was ;^28 I2S. The church was not opened for public 
worship until loth November — nearly five months after 
the consecration ceremony. 

As soon as the congregation had had time to survey the 
fine proportions of their new church, the Vestry appointed a 
committee to ascertain what ornaments should be provided. 
At their meeting on 25th September, 1730, the committee 
agreed upon their report : — 

The Committee after enquiring into the matters referred to them by 
* The London Journal, June 22, 1728. 

Minor and major troubles. 31 

the Vestry, and having consulted the Canons and Constitutions 
Ecclesiastical and Articles commonly exhibited to Churchwardens to 
make their Presentments, found the several things following which con- 
cern the Church, and which the Parish are obliged to procure, wanting, 
viz : — 

" A Box for Alms. A carpet and fine linnen cloth for the Com- 
munion Table. A Fla'ggon. Cups and Covers for Bread. Lord's 
Prayer, Creed and Commandments in fair letters and at the East End 
of the Church. King's Arms set up. A Table of Degrees of Marriage. 
A Chest with three locks. A Register Book in Parchment. 

Besides these things they agreed that Two Dishes were wanting for 
the collection of Alms at Sacraments and upon Briefs, and that two 
more Surplices should be provided. 

The Committee were of opinion that the Carpet for the Com- 
munion Table should be made of Velvet and have a Gold Lace and 
Fringe and that there should be two Cushions of the same with Gold 
cords and tassels and two Common Prayer books finely bound and 
gilt, a Velvet Cushion and Vallance for the Pulpit, two Silver Flaggons 
two Chalices and Pattens, and one Silver Dish. 

The Committee were also of opinion that a large Double Branch of 
Brass for Candles would be a usefuU ornament as would also be Cur- 
ai s to the East Windows. 

Resolved that it is necessary to have a large Table for the Vestry 
Room, two dozen of Chairs, one Elbow one and a Carpet, all which 
things they think may be procured for about ^300 or thereabouts." 

On the 25th March, 1731, after the church had been open 
two years and five months, an order was given for the 
articles scheduled by the committee to be obtained, the de- 
lay having been occasioned by the collection of subscriptions 
to defray the cost. Four years later (22nd May, 1735) the 
Vestry accorded a vote of thanks to Mr. Thomas Churchill 
and Mr. Pratt " for the King's Arms given by them to the 

An unexpected but short-lived trouble was now experi- 
enced — a trouble which " Old Westminsters " would Tain 
expunge from the official records, were it not that the 
school of to-day can well afford the comparison with its 
out-door conduct of 1739. 

" When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, 

. . . nothing extenuate, 
Nor set down aught in malice." 

32 Minor and major troubles. 

Let the Vestry minutes speak for themselves : — 

Sih May, 1739.* The windows of this Church having been frequent- 
ly broke and the Inhabitants put to continual Expenses and 
otherwise very much annoyed by some of the scholars belonging 
to Westminster School, 
Ordered that a Memorial be drawn up and presented to the Dean 
and Chapter of Westminster for redress of the said grievances. 

We now have to chronicle a real misfortune. On Sunday, 
26th September, 1742, as morning service was about to be 
conducted by the Rev. Charles Churchill, father of the poet, 
an alarming outbreak of fire was caused by " part of the 
timber of the roof lying in or too near the funnel of the 
chimney in the Vestry." Such extinguishing appliances 
as could be requsitioned in time were of no avail until the 
fire had consumed the communion table and rails, 
pews, pulpit, desks, galleries, roof, and everything combus- 
tible in the Church and vestry. The " fire brigade " then, 
for the first time, became of service in cooling the piles of 
debris from the fallen roof Nothing but the walls, with 
three of the towers or pinnacles, remained intact ; even the 
twelve magnificent stone columns were damaged beyond 
repair, the heavy iron work of the roof was rendered useless, 
and the south-west tower was left in an unsafe condition. 

The conflagration was thus reported in Rayners London 
Morning- Advertiser of Wednesday, Sept. 29. 1742 : — 

" Sunday morning last, about Ten of the Clock, a terrible Fire broke 
out in the Vestry Room of St. John the Evangelist's Church at Mill- 

" It is not improbable that the mischief complained of was practised as the boys 
returned from their ditch-jmriping expeditions in the open fields. There were 
339 hoys in the school at the time. Among those who passed on to the Uni- 
versities and afterwards occupied important and distinguished positions were : — • 
Edward Smallwell (Curate of St. John's, Chaplain to the King, Bishop of 
Bath and Wells, Bishop of Oxford), T. Franklin (Professor of Greek at Cam- 
bridge, Chaplain to the King, Vicar of Ware, and Ixector of Brasted), Lewis 
Devisme (Aml)assador to Sweden), Thomas Cornthwaite (Rector of Hackney), 
Nicholas I5rady (Rector of Tooting), Richard Parry (Rector of Whichampton), 
John Powell (Vicar of Sheedy Campe), David Tanqueray (Rector of Tingniffe), 
Samuel Markham (Vicar of Leatlierliead), George Maitlantl (son of the Earl of 
Lauderdale), and Thomas Barnard (Dean of Derry and Bishop of Limerick). 


Tlie Chmxli in rums. 


bank, Westminster, just before Divine Service, which burnt with that 
Fierceness that in about two Hours it entirely consumed all the inside 
of the said Church and the Roof thereof, and left nothing standing- but 
the Stone Walls, though all possible Diligence was used by the Fire- 
men ; but Water was very scarce, none being to be had, but what was 
drawn upon Sledges from the River Thames." 

A large picture of the Church while in ruins was pre- 
sented to the parish by Godsalve Crosse, Esq., on 8th 
February, 1787, and has since remained in the Vestr3^ On 
its removal, recently, for cleaning and restoration, a reduced 
copy was made by photo-gravure for insertion here: — 

Although fire insurance offices had been transacting 
business in London nearly sixty years, the authorities had 


34 Efforts to t'cbiiiUi the CliurcJi. 

not protected the parish in any way against such a loss. 
The parishioners were consequently at their wits' ends to 
devise means for dcfra}Mng the cost of restoration, which 
was estimated at i^3,757. The Vestry was called together 
on the first possible day following the fire ; but after ap- 
pointing a committee of investigation, adjourned owing to 
the absence of Dr. Willes, the Rector, on his diocesan duties 
at St. David's. In six weeks' time his lordship returned to 
town and attended the Vestry. He gave no encourage- 
ment, however, to a proposal to provide a temporary place 
of worship by fitting up " the piazzas under the new dormi- 
tory " of Westminster School for the performance of 
Divine service. An appeal to the First Lord of the Trea- 
sury was agreed upon ; but Sir John Crosse,* to whom the 
presentation of the petition had been entrusted, reported 
that the Government were not disposed to assist. An ap- 
plication was then made to the Churchwardens of St. 
Margaret's to call a meeting of the two Vestries. This was 
also fruitless, as the Churchwardens, while declaring their 
willingness to join in the promotion of a subscription, felt 
themselves unable to convene a meeting of the Vestries. 
The Ve.stry of St. John's thereupon abandoned the proposal 
to solicit a public subscription. Twelve months' delibera- 
tions having failed to j:)roduce a solution of the difficulty, 
another petition to the Treasury was resorted to as the only 
expedient. After reciting the damage done, and the es- 
timated cost of repair, the petitioners set forth that they 
were charged with the rate for the Rector's maintenance 
while there was no Church for them to attend, and that many 
of the inhabitants were quitting their houses on that ac- 
count. The Rev. Joseph Sims, who had entered upon the 
Rectory shortly after the fire had occurred, had waived his 
claim to the rate. His predecessor, Dr. Willes, who had by 
this time been translated from St. David's to Rath and 

* His father had l^een elected M.P. for Westminster four times. Sir John 
became member in 1754. 

Parliamentary grant towards the cost. 35 

Wells, was less considerate, for he increased the perplexities 
of the Vestry by pressing for his quarter's stipend due at 
the time of the disaster. There being no funds in hand, a 
temporary relief from this minor difficult}- was afforded b)- 
one of the members, who advanced the sum claimed by the 

i^ihop 1553013 

Under the guidance of the new Rector, who seems to 
have taken up his residence in the parish, and to have 
distinguished himself for a time by his activity, the second 
appeal to the Government proceeded more hopefull)-, and 
the - Vestry were encouraged by the Rector's report that 
Mr. Pelham, who was then First Lord of the Treasury, had 
promised his support to the prayer of the petition. On the 
20th February, 1744 (new style), the Vestry was jubilant 
with the news brought across from the House that Parlia- 
ment had voted ^^"4,000 to restore the church, for which 
exuberant votes of thanks were passed to the First Lord of 
the Treasury, to Sir John Crosse, and to Sir Robert 
Grosvenor. The money was shortly afterwards received, 
less the House fees, amounting to ^^305 17s. 8d. The one 
obstacle having been overcome, the Rector, Sir John 
Crosse, Sir Robert Grosvenor, with the two Churchwardens 
(Mr. Charles Crosse and Mr. Samuel Price) were constituted 
a Committee to carry out the work of reparation, and the 
advice of Mr. James Home was secured in drawing up 
the specification. This provided inter alia for the removal 
of the twelve pillars, which had been damaged beyond the 
possibility of repair, and for the disposal of the other 
materials destroyed, for which a faculty was decreed by the 
Dean and Chapter — 

" The columns must share the Ijuilder's doom ; 
Ruin is theirs, and his a tomb." 

Competition was subsequently invited for the purchase 

of the twelve pillars with the lead and iron fixed thereto, and 

for the removal of the same. The highest offer, six pounds, 

.C 2 

36 Tlic CJiurcJi restored and re-opened. 

was accepted. In December, 1745, just seventeen years 

and-a-half since 

" Amid that dim and smoky light, 
Chequering the summer sunshine bright, 
A Bishop by the altar stood, 

With mitre sheen and rocket white " 
at the consecration ceremony, and three years and-a-quarter 
from the date of the fire, the artizan again gave place to the 
worshipper. The total outlay upon the restoration was 
^3,920 8s. 8d. ; and it is remarkable that while the details 
of this arc entered with great minuteness in the parish 
books, no account of the re-opening services is preserved. 
Nor is there a note of dissatisfaction at the internal altera- 
tions which had been made during the reconstruction — 

" Not but that portions of the pile, 
Rebuildcd in a latter style. 
Showed where the spoiler's hand had been." 

The south-west tower, which was the only part of the 
exterior destroyed by the fire, was restored to the strict 
lines of the original, so that, from an external view, the 
effects of the conflagration were scarcely noticeable. 

Our observation easily extends itself from that faithful 
reproduction to the architectural features of the structure 
generally, on which a remarkable diversity of opinion 
has been expressed by numerous writers. The design has 
been attributed severally to Sir John Vanbrugh, who 
was one of the Commissioners, and to one of his pupils, 
Thomas Archer. The majority of the critics favour the 
view that the latter was the architect, and the doubt seems 
to be set at rest by the fact that the former, acting as 
Commissioner, in conjunction with several of the Bishops 
signed some of the warrants* for the builders' payments on 
the architect's certificates. While it was incompatible in 
one of the Commissioners to act also as architect, it was 

Vide Treasury Papers, 17 15 to 1723. 

Sir John Vanbrugh. -i^j 

most natural that the master mind should be reproduced by 
the pupil. 

Sir John Vanbrugh, architect, poet, and dramatist, born 
1666, was of foreign lineage, his grandfather having come 
over to England from Ghent, at the time of Alva's prosecu- 
tion of the Protestant Netherlands. According to some 
anecdotes told of him, he studied architecture in France ; 
but it is to be regretted that no satisfactory account of his 
early life has come down to us, for it would be instructive 
to learn how an architect of such a peculiar taste formed a 
' style ' which may be called his own. He must have 
acquired some reputation for architectural skill previously 
to 1695, for he was then appointed one of the com- 
missioners for completing the palace at Greenwich, when it 
was about to be converted into a hospital. About the 
same time he began to distinguish himself as a dramatic 
writer. Considered merely as literary productions his plays 
of the ' Relapse ' (1697), the ' Provoked Wife' (1698), and 
the 'Confederacy' (1699), are entitled to unqualified ad- 
miration ; but so libertine are they in plot and sentiment, 
as to be banished not only from the stage, but almost from 
the library ; and he who might have been the Moliere of 
our dramatic literature is now consigned (says Knight) to 
comparative oblivion. He built inter alia Castle Howard, 
Duncombe Hall, and Grimsthorpe,Yorkshire; King's Weston, 
near Bristol ; Oulton Hall, Cheshire ; and Blenheim for the 
first Duke of Marlborough. His architecture, which cer- 
tainly is heavy, brought down upon him the ridicule of Swift 
and Pope, more especially as he was so many-sided, and 
poached on their domains as a poet and wit. Vanbrugh 
at one time held the office of Clarencieux King of Arms, 
which he afterwards disposed of Hence Swift's satirical 

verses :^ 

"Van (for 'tis fit the reader know it) 
Is both an Herald and a Poet ; 
No wonder then if nicely skill'd 
In both capacities to build." 

38 TJioiiias Arclici\ the Arcliitcct of the Church. 

As Herald lie can in a day 
Repair a House gone to decay ; 
Or by achievements, arms, device, 
Erect a new one in a trice ; 
And as a Poet he has skill 
To build in speculation still." 

And Pope speaks of him (Sat. v) — • 

" How Van wants grace, who never wanted wit." 

Sir John died at his house at Whitehall (built by him- 
self), March 26, 1726. Despite his licentious pen, his 
private character appears to have been amiable and his 
conduct tolerably correct (Knight) ; and even his opponents 
Swift and Pope admitted that he was both ' a man of wit 
and man of honour.' 

Thomas Archer was the son of Thomas Archer, M.P. for 
Warwick in the time of Charles II. He held the office of 
' groom porter ' under Queen Anne, George I., and George 
II., and is so styled in the Gentleman s Magazme, where 
his death is recorded (23 May, 1743). About 1705 he 
built Heythorpe Hall, Oxfordshire, said to have been his 
first work ; St. Philip's Church, Birmingham, begun in 171 1 
and finished in 1719 ; Cliefden House, which was destroyed 
by fire ; and many other buildings, of which there is 
sufficient record in the Dictionary of the Architectural 
Publication Society. The date of his birth is not known ; 
but at his death, in 1743, he must have reached an advanced 
age. He is said to have left ^100,000 to his youngest 
nephew, H. Archer, Esq. member for Warwick.* 

Among the earliest references to the architectural features 
of the church is that of Chamberlain, in his Nezv and 
Conipleat History and Survey of Londo7i and Westminster, 
176^, in which he states that the edifice — ■ 

" Is remarkable only for having sunk while it was building, which oc- 
casioned an alteration in the plan. On the north and south sides are 
magnificent porticoes, supported by vast stone pillars, as is also the 
roof of the church. At each of the four corners is a beautiful stone 

Dictionary of National Biography. 

Criticisms on the architecture. 39 

tower and pinnacle : these additions were erected that the whole might 
sink eciually, and owe their magnitude to the same cause. The parts 
of this building are held together by iron bars, which cross within the 

In connection with other mishaps in the neighbourhood, 

the 'sinking' of the structure is referred to by Pope in his 

Satire ii : — 

" Right," cries his lordship, " for a rogue in need 

To have a taste is insolence indeed : 

In me 'tis noble, suits my birth and state, 

My wealth unwieldy, and my heap too great." 

Then like the sun, let bounty spread her ray, 

And shine that superfluity away. 

Oh, impudence of wealth ! with all thy store. 

How dar'st thou let one worthy man be poor ? 

Shall half the new-built churches round thee fall ? 

Make c|uays, build bridges, or repair Whitehall ! 

John Northouck, in A Neiv History of London, inclnding 

IVestniinster and Southwark, I'jy-), informs us that: — 

" This church was erected in an area on the north side of Vine-street, 
Millbank, and was finished in 1728 ; but the low swampy nature of the 
soil it was founded on caused it to sink while it was building, and pro- 
duced an alteration in the plan. On the north and south sides are 
magnificent Doric porticoes, supported by vast stone pillars, as is also 
the roof of the church. 

The chief aim of the architect was to give an uncommon, yet 
elegant outline, and to shew the orders in their greatest dignity 
and perfection, and indeed the outline is so variously broken, that there 
results a diversity of light and shadow, which is very uncommon, and 
very elegant. The principal objections against the structure are, that 
it is so much decorated that it appears encumbered with ornament ; 
and that the compass being too small for the design, it appears too 

The Rev. Joseph Nightingale, in his entertaining and 
comprehensive Beauties of England and Jl'a/es, 181 5 (///. 
London and Middlesex, Vol. 3, part 2), makes an interest- 
ing reference to the church : — 

"This is one of the most singular, not tn say wliinisical, liuildings in 
or near the metropolis. 

It is one of the fifty two new churches built soon after the time of 
Sir Christopher Wren ; but the reader, who has seen it, will nol need 

4o the Church. Criticisms on the architecture. 

to be informed, that no pupil of his was the architect. It is the work 
of Mr. Archer, who has certainly shewn no little skill, or power of 
invention, on this occasion. 

At each of the four angles is a l^eautiful stone tower and a pinnacle. 
It is said that these additions were erected, that the whole might sink 
equally, and owe their magnitude to the same cause. 

If this is the true reason given for the erection of this tower, and 
pinnacles, are we to suppose, that the architect anticipated a second 
accident, or suspected, after all, the solidity of his foundation ? And 
could he calculate on the certainty in case it should again give way, of 
its sinking in every part equally ? This, indeed, would appear to be the 
case, for the various parts of the whole fabric are fastened together by 
strong iron bars, which intersect even the aisles. 

On viewing" this church at a distance one is reminded of the towers- 
of Moscow ; or the massy ornaments of Constantinople ; but on 
approaching it, the numerous pillars, porticos, and pilasters, crowded 
into a small space, and almost hiding and intersecting each other in 
one solid mass, confuse and almost confound the \ie\v ; and certainly, 
in my estimation, produce every sort of sensation but those that are 
inspired by grandeur of design and simplicity of execution. 

It has been attributed to Vanburg ; and the lucigJii of the building 
would seem to justify the assertion ; but this, however, is not the fact. 

Some forty or fifty years ago, this edifice was much injured by fire ; 
and the work was thought to have suffered so as to endanger the roof. 
It was not, however, till within these three years, that the roof was 
propped up by four pieces of square timber, over which not even a 
plane appears to have passed. They are placed in the Ijody of the 
church, and remain to this day, to disfigure the interior. 

The interior is dark and heav)' ; nor are there any monuments of 
interest within its walls. The organ, however, is a very excellent one. 

One of the best descriptions of the building is that given 

in Peter Cunningham's History of London, \o\. iv., p. 234: — 

" This magnificent building differs from the general arrangement of 
ecclesiastical edifices. The plan is an oblong square, the two narrowest 
ends of which are contracted by means of sweeps in the walls, forming 
quadrants of circles, and having porticoes flanked with four stjuare 
towers attached to the other sides. The north and south sides of the 
edifice contain the entrances, being, contrary to usual practice, the 
principal fronts of the building ; they are uniform with each other, and 
the description of one will therefore suffice for both. The elevation 
commences with a lofty double flight of steps leading to a winged por- 
tico of the Doric order, composed of five divisions, the three central 
ones being recessed, and comprising two columns ; the side divisions 
are marked by antJe ; in every division is an arched doorway, with a 
window of the same form above it ; the whole is croA\ned with the en- 
tablature of the order, surmounted by a pediment broken above the 
centre of the front to let in an arch, flanked liy pilasters of the Ionic 

ArcJiitectural description. 41 

order, and covered with a pediment, behind which the church also 
finishes with a second pediment ; above the side divisions, the towers 
commence with square stylobates, which taking their rise from the 
raking cornice of the broken pediment, forcibly add to the character of 
instability, for which the towers of this church are remarkable. 

Above the stylobate the towers take a circular form, and are encir- 
cled by four insulated columns rising from the angles of the square 
portion of the design ; in the north and south elevations are arched 
windows with circular ones above them ; in the other two inter- 
columniations are parallelogrammatic openings flanked by pilasters, 
the whole is crowned with an entablature ; the columns are of the 
Corinthian order, and the entablature over them is whimsically enough 
made to assume the circular form ; by means of the latter, the columns 
are united to the cella ; the roof of each tower is covered with lead 
forming a bell-shaped cupola ; owing to the defective construction of 
the building, the whole is greatly out of order ; the perpendicular is 
lost in some instances, and the columns defaced by being bound to 
each other, and to the walls of the building by bars of iron. The east 
and west fronts are uniform ; the elevation commences \\\\\\ a stylo- 
bate, in which are windows and entrances to the vaults ; the super- 
structure is made into four divisions by pilasters, and finished by the 
entablature, which is continued round the entire building ; in the 
central division is a large arched window, and in the side ones smaller 
windows recently walled up in the east front. The attic is raised above 
the entablature of the order supported by trusses ; in the centre is a 
niche between grouped antse, covered with a pediment ; in each flank 
is a circular headed window of recent construction ; the west end has 
no windows in the flanks, and those in the side divisions are still open ; 
the sweeping walls which connect the four fronts commence with a 
stylobate, and are finished with the continued entablature ; in each are 
arched windows as before. The church is now covered with an 
unsightly roof, which was substituted after the fire, for one more ap- 
propriate to this splendid building, which before that unfortunate 
accident was perhaps the most magnificent church in the metropolis 
after the cathedral ; the roof is now covered with slates. 

The interior is approached by small porches within the principal 
porticoes ; in its present state, it shews a large and handsome area 
unbroken by pillars or arches. The order is Corinthian, which is 
carried round the side walls in pilaster, surmounted by a rich entabla- 
ture ; the grand groups of columns, which formerly occupied the 
angles of the building, in the style of St. Mary, Woolnoth, were 
destroyed by the fire ; the small windows in the lateral divisions of the 
east and west fronts being designed to throw a light behind the 
columns and prevent the gloom which their great size niight otherwise 
create. The ceiling is horizontal, pannelled into square compartments 
by flying cornices, the soffits enriched with guillochi ; in the midst of 
the ceiling is a large circular pannel with a magnificent boss in the 
centre, the soffits of the pannels are painted a cerulean blue ; the 
ornamental portions stone colour ; an oak gallery, sustained on insig- 

42 TJic Church. 

nificant Ionic columns, occupies the west end and the north and south 
sides ; this gallery is not coeval with the church ; in the western portion 
is the organ. 

The chancel is a large recess, which has been only completed at the 
late repair, having been in an imperfect state ever since the fire ; it 
now makes a splendid appearance, owing to the judicious ornaments 
which were at that time added to it. The east window is enclosed in 
an enriched architrave, copied from the architecture of the temple of 
Jupitor Stator, with the addition of a sweeping range of minute 
cherubic heads round the arch in imitation of statuary marble, and 
which were copied from a monument in St. Margaret's church ; the 
new windows in the flanks have also architraves enriched with roses ; 
the altar screen is composed of five divisions ; the central is occupied 
by a painting of ' CJirist bearing his Cross^ after Carlo Dolci ; this is 
situated between two Ionic columns, the shafts imitating Sienna 
marble ; the other divisions are made by pilasters, and contain the 
usual inscriptions on pannels, in imitation of various marbles ; above 
the central division was formerl)' a pediment interfering with the 
window ; this has been altered to a light pedimental cornice enriched 
with honeysuckles. The arched ceiling has a gilt glory in the centre ; 
the two pilasters at the entrance of the chancel are painted to imitate 
Sienna marble, and the capitals, modillions, and other enrichments are 
gilt. The pulpit and desks are situated in one group in front of the 
altar rails. In the new pewing of the church at the last repair free 
seats were constructed, but with a 'contemptible spirit of aristocratic 
pride, a line of bronze ornamental honey-suckles was constructed to 
distinguish the humble occupants of the new free seats from the more 
favourite tenants of the pews — a distinction inimical to the spirit of the 
Church of England — utterly at variance with Christian benevolence, 
and disgraceful to any building for religious purposes, in which the 
' rich and poor meet together,' or ought to do so. The font is situated 
in the north-west angle of the church ; it is a neat basin of veined 
marble on an octagonal pillar." 

Commenting in 1815 on the architecture of the church, 
" An Architect," writing in TJie Loudon Magazine, says : — 

" Notwithstanding Vanbrugh appears to have been indifferent as to 
what point he placed the altar end of his chapel at Blenheim, he on 
this occasion has been scrupulously correct, as we find his West end. 
North entrance, South ditto, and East or altar end. Our Knight's es- 
saying to wield the pen as well as compasses, each with equal power, 
raised against him many enemies as scurrilists, lampoonists, and 
doggrel mongers : among their kcoi hits in this way this comparison 
seems to have taken the lead ; " St. John's Church bears the idea of 
an elephant thro\\n upon its back," e\er concluding in one general 
character as marking all his works — 

" Lie heavy on him, Earth, for he 
Laid many a heavy load on thee ! " * 

* The roncliulini; lini's of T)r. Evans's epitaph. 

Criticisms on tJic arcJiitcctiirc. 43 

On our part we must observe, if solidity, boldness of features, original 
design, and one prevailing tour of grandeur which governed his hand 
wherever he laid down his mighty load^ what genius then is free, what 
art can merit praise, or what superior skill ever truly receive the meed 
of universal approbation ? With us the turn of thinkmg is far other- 
wise ; we venerate the name of Vanbrugh, we laud his labours, and we 
duly appreciate his every architectural example, and none perhaps 
with greater satisfaction than the article before us. Thus our opinion 
may, m some degree, either dispel the cloud of obloquy hanging over 
his memory, or consign our own perverted predilections with those 
of the good Knight's, to be crushed under one common censure, heaped 
upon us both by scribblers and wall constructors, supposing they claim 
no other designation." 

A long description of the architectural features, in tech- 
nical terms, follows the above, and the comment is directed 
to the interior of the church in an article in the same 
magazine of 18 19, p. 519 : — 

" A lamentable falling off in regard to architectural gratification from 
what the exterior so highly raised expectation of, by a progressive ratio 
of increasing embellishments ; but we are told from the tradition of 
the place that a fire destroyed all St. John's internal performances ; this 
may be credited, as what little is bestowed is of the meagre parsimonious 
parish cast, consisting chiefly of pews and galleries to answer the 
usual purposes, — conveniency, remuneration, and profit. However, as 
the conflagration did not affect the walls, their heights are maintained 
by Corinthian pilasters set at first against the piers between the 
windows. Their effect is certainly noble. Here all praise is closed, 
and in reluctant train we thus pi'oceed. Door-ways and windows 
plain, pews and galleries in plain pannel work, the latter supported by 
extreme slender Corinthian fluted columns ; organ-case of the usual 
large unnecessary dimension, hiding west window, and of the usual 
cast ; pulpit hexangular, rather enriched, and with the reading-desks 
turned, according to present mode, direct against the altar, which altar 
is of the commonest degree." 

Bohn, in his very independent Pictorial Handbook of 
London, notices the church : — 

"The visitor should not neglect the exterior (only, for the interior is 
excessively poor) of St. John's, Westminster, which is noble in its 
general form and arrangement, though disfigured in the detail by 
conceits more false and corrupt than this country ever saw before or 
since, till within the last few years. The criticism copied into every 
account of this church, we believe since its erection, is a capital 
instance of what, in England, passes for taste. It has been the fashion 
to say nothing of its abominable details, but object to its really fine 
form, as 'resembling a parlour table upset, with its legs in the air.' The 
resemblance consists in havint; four summits — ' There is a river in 

44 TJic C J lurch. 

Macedon ; and there is moreover a river at Monmouth' —there are 
four legs to a table, and four turrets to St. John's ; but further from 
this we cannot conceive what inverted table could bear the most 
distant likeness to this building (though most modern tables would 
certainly very closely represent the cornice, parapet, and pinnacles of 
the stereotyped Anglo-Gothic church-tower ; but of this resemblance 
we hear nothing). As for the principle of the objection, 
it is obvious that, if it be worth anything, St. Paul's and all domes 
must be at once condemned as resembling inverted basins; all the 
Gothic spires, as resembling extinguishers ; all columns, as resembling 
posts ; and in short, all straight-lined objects must be banished for 
resemblance to furniture, and all carved ones for resemblance to 
pottery. Even if those forms only which other arts have Ijorrowed 
from architecture are to be forthwith abandoned by her (as fashionables 
abandon a garb when it has descended to the vulgar), what refuge 
remains? and what becomes of truth in design if novelty is to be the 
main object? Meanwhile, the result of a total absence of real criticism 
is that the richest city in the world erects and (what is worse) boasts of^ 
such works as the Coal Exchange." 

Yet another opinion is offered in Knight's London 


" Archer's well known production is St. John's Church, Westminster, 
finished in 1728 ; and which if it were possible to designate by any 
single phrase it must be some such as — Architecture run mad. If one 
could imagine a collection of all the ordinary materials of a church in 
the last century, with an extraordinary profusion of decoration of 
porticoes and of towers, to have suddenly dropt down from the skies, 
and by some freak of Nature to have fallen into a kind of order and 
harmony and fantastic grandeur, — the four towers at the angles, the 
porticoes at the ends and in the front, — it would give no very exag- 
gerated idea of St. John's. Vanbrugh, says Pennant, had the discredit 
of the pile." 

Peter Cunningham, in his Hand-book for London^ Past 
and Present (1849), quotes* from Walpoles Anecdotes : — 

" St. Philip's Church, Birmingham, and a house at Roehampton 
(which, as a specimen of his wretched taste, may be seen in the 
' Vitruvius Brittanicus ') were other works of the same person ; but the 
chef d'ceuvre of his absurdity was the Church of St. John's, with four 
belfreys, in Westminster." 

In a footnote it is stated that — 

" Mr. Archer's design of the Church, as it was agreed upon by the 
Commissioners, is a very different design from the existing Church. 
Many alterations were subsequently made without the knowledge or 
consent of the architect." 

* P. 446. The date of the consecration is erroneously given as 1738. 

Criticisms on the architectuj^e. 45 

Mr. Walcott, in his Memorials of Westminster, p. 312, 
(1849), alluding to the architecture of the church, says : — 

" When we call to mind the upper part of the western towers of the 
Abbey, and the mutilated exterior of St. Margaret's — the deformities 
of the last anti-Gothic century — it would seem as though the ancient 
architects, having completed their own beautiful work, broke the 
mould. We, therefore, can only rejoice that an exotic architecture- 
then studied and in vogue — ^was adopted in building St. John's, in 
preference to a motley mimicry of that native but dormant style — the 
Pointed^which is more strictly ecclesiastical." 

Readers of Our Mutual Friend (Qook II., chap, i) will 
recollect the impression the mind of Charles Dickens 
received from the church and its immediate surroundings : 

" Bradley Headstone and Charley Hexam duly got to the Surrey 
side of Westminster Bridge, and crossed the bridge, and made along 
the Middlesex shore towards Millbank. In this region are a certain 
little street, called Church Street, and a certain little blind square, 
called Smith Square, in the centre of which last retreat is a very 
hideous church with four towers at the four corners, generally resem- 
bling some petrified monster, frightful and gigantic, on its back with 
its legs in the air. They found a tree near by in a corner, and a black- 
smith's forge, and a timber yard, and a dealer's in old iron. What a 
rusty portion of a boiler and a great iron wheel or so meant by lying 
half-l)uried in a dealer's fore-court, nobody seemed to know, or want to 
know. Like the Miller of questionable jollity in the song, They cared 
for Nobody, no not they, and Nobody cared for them. 

After making the round of this place, and noting that there was a 
deadly kind of repose on it, more as though it had taken laudanum 
than fallen into a natural rest, they stopped at the point where the 
street and the square joined, and where there were some little quiet 
houses in a row." 

It was in one of these small houses that — 

Dolls' Dressmaker. 

Dolls attended at their own residences. 

otherwise Fanny Cleaver, who befriended Lizzie Hexam 
after her father's death, had her fictional abode. 

Mr. J. Heneage Jesse, in Memorials of Loneion (1847), 
remarks that : — 

" Near the south end of College Street is the fantastic-looking church 

46 The Chit nil. 

of St. John the E\'angelist, with its four pinnacles, one at each comer, 
wliicli form surli prominent objects from the different points of the 
nictropohs at which they are visible. This church, the work of Sir 
John Vanbrugh, was commenced in 1721, and completed in 1728. I 
cannot discover that any particular interest attaches to it. It has been 
much censured for its excess of ornament, but it is not altogether 
destittite of architectural beauty, and the portico, supported by Doric 
columns, has been deservedly admired.'' 

In London ; its Celebrated Cltaracters and Remarkable 
Places (1871), thi.s author corrects his "Memorials" by 
observing that Sir John Vanbrugh " usually had the dis- 
credit " for the building ; " but the real architect was a 
person by the name of Archer." He does not appear to 
have noticed that his contemporaries have set down the 
four foremost architects of the time as Vanbrugh, Archer, 
Jaines, and Plitcroft. 

A still more recent writer, Mr. A. J. C. Hare, author of 
Walks in London (1878), in his allusion to Westminster, 
goes on to say : — 

" In the poverty-stricken quarter, not far from the river, is St John's 
Church, the second of Queen Anne's fifty churches, built from designs 
of Archer, a pupil of Vanbrugh. . . Lord Chesterfield compared it 
to an elephant on its back, with its four feet in the air. The effect at 
a distance is miserable, but the details are good when you approach 

Admirers of the characteristic romances of Lord 
Beaconsfield (" one of the few, the immortal names that 
were not born to die ") will recollect how intimately the 
great statesman and author had become acquainted in his 
later writings with the Church, the Rectory House, and the 
surroundings. In his Sybil, or the Two Nations — the 
work which is prefaced by his beautiful inscription to Lady 
Beaconsfield — he makes repeated reference to them. 

For our present purpose we turn to the chapter in which 
Egremont, having met Sybil in the Abbey, accompanies 
her home to the Rectory House. " Making a circuitous 
course through this tranquil and orderly district, they at 
last found themselves in an open place, in the centre of 

Criticisms on the architecture. 47 

which rose a church of vast proportions, and built of hewn 
stone in that stately, not to say ponderous, st)'lc which 
Vanbrugh introduced." 

Mr. Walford, in his O hi and Nciu London, speaks of the 
church as " a singular building which a stranger would 
never be likely to take for a church. . . . Its architect 
certainly seems to have defied all the rules of architecture, 
loading the heavy structure with still heavier ornamenta- 
tion, by building at each of the four angles a stone tower 
and a pinnacle of ugliness that passes description." The 
same author quotes from A New Review of the Public 
Buildings (1736) that " the new church with the four towers 
at Westminster is an ornament to the city," and states that 
the writer of the article " deeply regrets that a vista was 
not formed from Old Palace Yard so as to bring its beaut}' 
fairly into view." 

The description of the Church and its vicinity by Dickens 
in Our Mutual Friend, which has already been given, is thus 
reviewed by Mr. Alfred Rimmer in \{\?, About England witJi 
Dickens (1883): — 

" In this region are a certain little street called Church Street, and 
a certain little blind square called Smith Square, in the centre of which 
last retreat is a very hideous church, with four towers at the four 
corners, generally resembling some petrified monster, frightful and 
gigantic, on its back with its feet in the air." This is the description 
of St. John the Evangelist, a church that occupies all the centre part 
of Smith Square. Yet the church was the work of an architect who 
enjoyed great honour in his day, and whose designs figure worthily 
among stately elms in some of the most beautiful parts of England. 
By some strange mutation in affairs the architecture that exercised 
Dickens is again coming in vogue, and the Church of St. John the 
Evangelist is greatly admired by architects and artists. A happy issue 
even this is; out of the iconoclastic spirit that has within the last half 
century destroyed the interest and beauty of some — it is supposed 
nearly eighty per cent. — of the parish churches of England. The quaint 
high pews that are now so prized among artists and antiquarians, and 
that are unhappily becoming so rare, were of the date of this church ; 
and the details of the church itself are chaste and good. Probably 
the revived interest in this style may preserve the remnant that re- 
mains of our old parish churches ; they are nearly all destroyed, but 
some portion may escape." 

48 The CJninJi. After the Restoration. 

With the judgment of one other author, the reader will 
have sufificient diversity of opinion to enable him to deter- 
mine the true architectural merits of the building. This last 
extract is from A History of London, by W. J. L.oftie, 1883, 
and shows that the different views so freely expressed more 
than a century ago are as widely estranged as ever : — 

" The last parish formally separated from St. Margaret's was St. 
John's, Westminster. Its church is by Vanbrugh's pupil, Archer, and 
is in a most eccentric style. It resembles, according to one author,* 
' a parlour talkie upset, with its legs in the air.' . . Archer built 
Cliefden, a handsome pile, and one or two other great houses ; but his 
designs, some of which were engraved in the ' Vitruvius Brittanicus,' 
do not entitle him to further notice. The parish is very densely popu- 
lated, and has several district churches ; but the visitor who seeks for 
an)'thing of interest in it, will probably be disappointed. . . The 
epitaph on a lady in P\ilham Churchyard will apply : — 

' Silence is best.' " 

We now leave the survey of the exterior for a time to take 
a general view of the interior as it was restored after the 
fire. All the " ornaments " were replaced, including the 
sounding board, which was increased twelve inches in 
diameter " to try whether it will help the voice from the 
pulpit." Vox the first twcnt}' years the services of the 
Church were led by the hautbo}-, the fiddle, the flute, 
and the bass viol, or were — 

" Left to the singing singers 
With vocal voices most vociferous 
In sweet vociferation, to out-vociferise 
Ev'n sound itself." — 


unaided by instrumental music. In October, 1749, the 
Vestry resolved " that it is proper to have an organ." A 
fortnight later Henry Porter submitted a proposal to pro- 
vide and erect a " great organ " with twenty stops, without 
any to the parish, and to cause it to be played in 
a projjcr manner during the lifetime of his wife and sister, 
on condition that ^^30 per annum be paid during their res- 
pective lives. In consequence of an objection by Sir John 

* Cunningham. Handbook for London ; Past and Present, p. 446. 

Organ and organists. 49 

Crosse and Sir Robert Grosvcnor, the matter stood in 
abeyance for twelve months, at the expiration of which it 
was agreed to on the understanding that the organ should be 
of the minimum value of ;^300 in the opinion of tw^o experts. 
On 24 September, 175 1, these exjDerts, Mr. Robinson and 
Mr. Kelway, certified the completion of the instrument in ac- 
cordance with the agreement. Twenty years' wear brought 
complaints of the condition of the organ, which was de- 
scribed as being " very foul and much out of repair ; it was 
so full of dust that it was impossible for the pipes to 
speak." A thorough repair was consequently carried out, 
and the annuity of ^^30 was continued until the decease of 
Mrs. Porter in 1793. Mr. Zinzan, Junr., of Brentford, was 
thereupon appointed organist at ^^"20 per annum ; but after 
occupyingtheposition for fifteen years,in which theduties had 
been performed by deputy, this gentleman was called upon 
to answer complaints of the inefficient services so rendered. 
He immediately undertook to attend personally for a month 
and to find a more competent substitute or to relinquish his 
office " in consequence of his residing at Brentford, and of 
his numerous other avocations." Mr. Zinzan's salary was 
shortly afterwards increased to £},0, and he continued in 
office until his death, which occurred in 1824.* Henr)' 
Boys w^as then appointed to the position. 

In 1 8 19 the organ was again repaired and improved at a 
cost of ^180, which was defrayed out of the church rate; 
in March, 1841, £\\2 were expended upon further repairs, 
and in 1890 the of similar work, amounting to 
^165 was raised by public subscription. 

Before leaving the west galler}-, in which the organ was 
placed, we may mention that the congregation had so over- 
grown the accommodation in 1756 that, in order to provide 
additional seats, galleries were constructed along the north 

* In Pietas Londincnsis, 17 14, "Mr. Nicolas Zinzan" is named as the 
Rector of St. Martin Outwich and Lecturer of St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish 
Street. There is a headstone to the memory of several persons named Zinzan 
in lianwell Churchyard. 


50 An unlucky pinnacle and an onpty purse. 

and south sides at a cost of iJ^400. This sum was raised by 
appropriating part of the bequest of Richard Farwcll, and by 
a gift of ^loo bySir John Crosse, then member of Parhament 
for Westminster. A further extension of the seating was 
made in 1808, when a gallery for "the charity children" 
was constructed on each side of the organ at a cost of ^lOO. 
The south-west pinnacle, which replaced that destroyed 
in the fire of 1742, was again placed in jeopardy on the 
morning of i8th October, 1773, when a violent storm broke 
out over the centre of the parish. — ■ 

"Then sudden, through the darkened air,- 

A flash of hghtning came ; 
So broad, so bright, so red the glare, 

The tower seemed on flame." 


Damage was also sustained by that part of the roof im- 
mediately contiguous, a committee of the Vestry being 
instantly empowered to carry out the repairs. 

Seventy years having elapsed since the restoration of 
the church, the necessity for a general repair of the interior 
and exterior now pressed itself upon the attention of the 
Vestry, A survey made in the autumn of 181 2 led to a 
report that the roof, "tye beams," and towers were decayed 
and dangerous, and that the work required to be executed 
would cost i^8,500. The aid of Parliament was solicited 
towards raising the sum ; but this having failed, two eminent 
counsel were called in to advise upon the legality of levying 
a church rate to raise the funds. A proposal made at a 
joint meeting of the two Vestries, to levy a rate of eighteen- 
pence in the pound, was rejected by the Chairman. An 
application to the Court of King's Bench for a mandamus 
followed, and a rate of eightpence was in October, 181 5, 
levied upon the two parishes for the repair of the Church. 
The improvements were then proceeded with so far as the 
funds permitted ; but increasing demands for seats revived 
the question, and led to a re-arrangement of the pews, and 
to the general completion of the repairs in 1824-5. '^^^ 

Description of alterations. 5 1 

outlay on this occasion was ^^"4,280, of which ;^58o was for 
heating apparatus, and ^^450 for " new flooring under the 
pews." The alterations are thus described in a letter to the 
London Magazine of January, 1826: — 

" Since I last addressed you on the subject of Westminster Improve- 
ments numerous others have taken place. 

The population of the parish of St. John the Evangelist having 
materially increased of late years, the Church became insufficient to 
accommodate the parishioners. The Select Vestry of the parish, an- 
ticipating that they should be under the necessity of erecting a New 
Church, or of re-modelling and repairing the present magnificent one 
(the most expensive built in the reign of Queen Anne) ; and consider- 
ing the expense that would attend the erection of a new Church and 
establishment, and their inadequate means of sustaining the same, 
resolved to adopt the latter course. Plans and specifications were ac- 
cordingly made by W. Inwood, Esq., and put to competition about the 
middle of June, 1825, when Mr. James Firth, builder to his Majesty, 
was chosen to perform the necessary alterations. The principal ob- 
jects were to increase the accommodation for the poor, give extra light 
to the body of the Church, properly to warm the same in winter, and 
to admit a change of air in the summer seasons. Previous to these 
alterations the Church would not contain more than 1,200 persons, in- 
cluding about 50 free sittings ; but at present accommodation is 
afforded for about 1,800, including about 500 free sittings. 

These repairs I will now endeavour to describe, first examining the 

Under the north and south porticoes new square headed door-ways 
have been opened to the western towers. Their uprights have but 
three members in the capital : in this respect differing from the up- 
rights of the door-ways in the centre, which are capped by four 
mouldings ; and again differing from the door to the corresponding 
tower on the east side, which is destitute of either capitals or plinths. 

At the east end the parallelogram, windows collateral with the semi- 
circular headed windows, have been blocked up with stone, and two 
additional semi-circular headed windows have been introduced on the 
north and south sides of the chancel, and glazed with ground and 
stained glass. 

The alterations, additions, and improvements in the 
are so conspicuous, that many parishioners can scarcely recognise 
their original place of worship. The pews which Avere formerly of 
different lengths and widths, have been entirely taken down ; several 
hundred loads of rubbish, caused by the fire which destroyed the in- 
terior of the Church about 80 years ago, removed from under the 
same, to admit a free circulation of the air ; and four double rows of 

J) 2 

52 Description of alterations. 

air-flues built to heat and ventilate the Church. New floor and joists 
were put all over the ground plan, and the pews refixed, leaving a 
spacious nave, and the western portion of the aisles for free sittings. 
All the projecting seats and pilasters are cleared away to widen the 

From the boss in the centre (which is superior to almost any other 
of the kind, being about i8 feet in diameter and pendent from ihe 
ceiling about 5 feet from the centre) was formerly suspended a brass 

There is now no entrance to the galleries from the interior of the 
Church ; the places where they stood being converted, the one on the 
north-west corner to the christening-pew, and the other on the opposite 
angle, into free sittings. The font, removed from a pew (the site of 
which is now occupied by that for the Churchwardens on the north- 
west corner of the nave) is railed in from the sponsor's pew. 

The furnaces to warm the church are erected in the crypt, according 
to Mr. Silvester's plan. 

Vestry-room provided with a large closet with iron doors. 

The alterations in the Chancel or Sacrarium are very conspicuous. 
The two parallelogram windows on each side of the painted window 
have been blocked up, and a new semi-circular headed window, with 
handsome architraves, ornamented with roses, introduced on each re- 
turn wall. To furnish room for these \\'indows, two beautiful mural 
monuments were removed to the galleries. The centre window repre- 
sents our Saviour bearing the Cross, supported on his right by St. 
John the Evangelist, and on his left by St. Paul. It was presented to 
the parish by T. Green, Esq., of Millbank-row. The upper compart- 
ment has been replaced by dark clouds, with the descending dove, 
surrounded by glory. The beautiful architrave of this window is 
copied from one in tire Temple of Jupiter Stator at Rome. . . 
Around the semi-circular head is a range of cherubim, cast from the 
beautiful sculptured ones on a monument in the neighbouring parish 
church of St. Margaret. 

These alterations having been completed, the Church was opened 
December 18 with a sermon preached by the Very Rev. the Dean of 
Westminster, in support of the fund for rebuilding Westminster Hos- 
pital. A sum, amounting to about 45/, was collected after the sermon." 

The iron railings and gates enclosing the steps at the 
north and south entrances, were supplied and fixed by 
Messrs. Burt, at a cost of ^^"202, in 1828. 

Notwithstanding the large expenditure on the \\'orks 
carried out in 181 5-16 and 1824-5, the Church appears to 
have fallen into a deplorably dirty condition in 1841, when 

An exhoytation to Cleanlmess. 53 

the Archdeacon called attention to the necessity of a 
thorough cleaning. No improvement having taken place, 
Archdeacon Sinclair wrote to the Churchwardens in 1844, 
referring to the appeals made by his predecessors, Arch- 
deacon Hale and the Bishop of Lichfield, remarking that 
" the interior is as much in need of being cleaned as that of 
any church I remember to have seen," and calling upon 
them to restore " the sacred edifice to a state more worthy 
of its holy purpose, and more suitable to the respectability 
of the parish." The Churchwardens having taken the 
Vestry into council, the latter attributed the delay to the 
fact that they had no power to make a church rate without 
the co-operation of their brethren of St. Margaret's ; but 
the Archdeacon having sent a further remonstrance in 
January, 1845, negotiations took place between the two 
- Vestries, which resulted in a church rate of 3d. in the £ 
being levied to raise i^2,ioo, apportioned as to i^ 1,400 on 
St. Margaret's and as to iJ^700 on St. John's. In October, 
1846, a letter from Archdeacon Sinclair was read in which 
he expressed his satisfaction at the manner in which the 
work had been executed. In April, 1864, i,'i,000 were 
drawn from the parish purse to pay for cleaning and 
painting the interior, on which also, including the modern- 
ising of the seats, upwards of £,\,ooo were expended in 
1884-5, the sum being raised by a public subscription. 
Happily there is no ground for complaint of the use of 
churchwarden's whitewash in all these repeated re-decora- 
tions — in this respect " old times are changed, old manners 

We may now turn aside into the Vestry and examine the 
church plate, carefully kept in the iron closet. According 
to an inventory entered upon the Vestry Minutes in 1770, 
it was valued at i^ 1 28 i8s. 5 j^d., and consisted of :— 


One silver cup, gilt ... weighing 22 11 

One silver salver to ditto ... ,, 9 7 

One other silvercup, gilt ... „ 23 6 













54 The Cinirch Plate. 

One silver cover to ditto ... weighing 

One silver chalice, gilt ... „ 

One other silver chalice, gilt ... ,, 

One large silver dish, gilt ... „ 

One small salver, gilt ... „ 

One silver handle knife, gilt ... „ — — 

One silver spoon, gilt ... „ — — 

One silver chalice and cover, 

for private sacraments ... ,, — — 

This plate wa.s annually tran.sferred to the cu.stody of the 
Churchwardens upon their appointment, and in 1788 was 
insured against burglaries in the sum of i^ioo. The custo- 
dians were at the same time requested to make the doors 
secure, and " to discover offenders and bring them to 
justice," from which may be inferred that an attempt at 
purloining the silver had been made. In a return prepared by 
the Churchwardens in 1889, the church plate, ornaments, 
furniture, etc., are thus specified : — 

SCHEDULE of Plate, Bells, Organ, Furniture, Linen, 
Coverings for the Lord's Table, etc., and Decorations, 
Painted Windows, and Pictures belonging to the Church 
of St. John the Evangelist, Westminster, made by order of 
the Bishop of the Diocese, 29th September, 1889. 

Revised 2S//1 June, iSg2. 

I. Communion Plate. 

(a) Two Chalices, silver gilt. 

Height, 10 inches ; diameter of bowl, 4^^ inches ; diameter 
of foot, 4 inches ; Inscriptions : " The gift of Sir Richard 
Gtosvenor and Sir Thomas Crosse, Baronet, the two first 
Churchwardens of this Parish^ Coats of Arms of the 
donors. Date, 1731. Weights,* 22 oz. 8 dwts. and 22 oz. 
3 dwts. respectively. 
{b) Two Patens, silver gilt. 

Diameter, 5^ inches ; diameter of foot, 2^ inches. 
Weights, 8 oz. 3 dwts. and 9 oz. 6 dwts. respectively. 
Inscription as above, with coatsof arms of donors. Date, 1731 
(e) Two Flagons, silver gilt. 

Height, 13X inches ; diameter at foot, 4^ inches. Same 
inscription and coats of arms as above. Date, 1731. 
Weights, 62 oz. II dwts. and 61 oz. 8 dwts. respectively. 

* These weights have been very kindly verified by Mr. Thomas Scudamore, 
of Great Chapel-street. 

Plate ; Font ; Bells, Organ. 5 5 

(d) Two Alms Basons, silver gilt. 

One 14^ inches in diameter, weighing 52 oz. 10 dwts. 
One 9>^ inches in diameter, weighing 18 oz. 16 dwts. 
Same inscription, coats of arms, and date as above. 

(e) Two Alms Basons, silver gilt. 

Diameter, 13^ inches ; weights, 45 oz. 10 dwts., and 45 oz. 
3 dwts. respectively; Date, 1784. Inscriptions :" 77/t' _<,'7// 
of Mrs. Mary Paccy to the CliurcJi of St. folin tlic Evan- 
gelist., Westminster, by Riciiard Pearce, Esq., her Executor, 
Ann: Doni: 1784. 

Tlie AV?/"'- Roljert Poole EincJi, D.D., Rector., 

Morris Marsaidt, } ^, , , ,, 

' > tliurclnvardoisP 
Lrcorge Lrra^'es, 3 

(f) Two Alms Basons, copper gilt. Diameter, 13 inches ; no 


(g) One small Chalice, silver gilt. Height, 5X inches ; diameter 

of bowl, lyi inches; diameter of foot, 2j^ inches ; Inscrip- 
^ tion : " The gift of Mr. fosepli Harding, Gent: to ye CJiiircli 

of St. foJin ye Evajtgelist, WesP'" Coat of arms of the 
donor. Weight, 5 oz. 15 dwts. 

One small Paten, silver gilt. Diameter, 3 inches ; diameter 
of foot, \}i inches ; weight, 2 oz. 18 dwts. Same inscrip- 
tion as above, with Crest. 

(Ji) Two Chalices, silver, modern. Height, 8^ inches; diameter, 
4^ inches ; diameter of base, 5X inches weights, 16 
oz. 8 dwts. and 150 14 dwts. respectively ; no inscription. 
Two Patens, silver, modern. Diameter, ']]/% inches. Inscrip- 
tions : " To the Glory of God. In memory oj Lionel Cliarles 
ThynncP ''^ Christus I'ita non lucrum." Weights, 5 oz. 19 
dwts. and 5 oz. 18 dwts. respectively. 

(i) One knife — silver handle. One spoon, silver, perforated 
Weight, 2 oz. 2 dwts. ; no inscription, but bearing the 
crests of Sir Richard Grosvenor and Sir Thomas Crosse. 

(j) Two glass Cruets. 

2. Font. — White statuary marble with carved angels at the four 
corners. No cover. 

{Seepage 59.) 

3. Bells. — Five Bells in all. Three in one turret for the Clock. 

Two in one turret for Church use. 

4. Organ.— Three manuels— work by Father Schmidt and A\cry ; 

added to by Hill. 

{See page 48.) 

56 Church furniture and ornaments. 

5. Furniture. 

Two moveable Chairs used for Sedilia ; Lectern ; Pulpit ; Fald- 
stool ; Altar ; Credence Table ; brass Altar Cross ; two large 
brass Candlesticks ; two small brass Candelabra ; four brass 
Flower Vases ; one Processional Cross ; one Altar Desk, 
brass ; two brass Brackets for the Pulpit ; one Verger's Staff, 
siher head, inscription : " St. John the Eiuingclist, Wcst- 
ini/istcr, i/Sg. 

I no. Groves., 7 /-,■ / 7,„„;) 
•' ' > Lliiirelnuaracns. 

Robert Clarke, ^ 

6. Altar Cloths. 

Two white, embroidered silk. One red, embroidered silk and 
velvet. One purple, with white orphreys. Three sets 
Sanctuary hangings, white, red, purple. One set Curtains. 
Two Funeral Palls, one purple and white for adults ; one 
white for infants. One Press for Altar Cloths, etc. 

7. Linen. 

Altar cloths ; corporals ; chalice veils ; palls. 

8. Decor-ATIons — no sculptures or other decorations. 

g. Windows. Three stained glass windows. (See pages 58 ami ^().) 
10. Pictures. 

One as an Altar piece. (See page 58. j 

One in the Vestry. (See page 33. j 

The curious and interesting piece of parish plate, com- 
monly known as the " St. John's Snuff-box," which is also 
deposited in the iron closet in the Vestry, is described in 
the section assigned to the notice of the Churchwardens, to 
whom the box belongs. 

The registers, through which we take a hurried glance 
before quitting the Vestry Room, contain none of the 
curious notes and memoranda to be found in those of 
parishes of earlier date ; indeed there is little worthy of 
notice besides the instances of longevity in the burial re- 
gisters to which reference is made in Chapter V, and the 
following which, leave scope, however, for speculation as to 
why they should find a place among the burials : — - 

"The recantation of Margaret Starling, on Thursday, Jan. 6, 
1774, the Feast of the Epiphany. 

1, Margaret Starling, wife of William Starling, of the parish of 
St. John the Evangelist, Westminster, having been brought up 
and educated in the principles of the Church of Rome, upon 

Recantations and Baptisms. 57 

serious consideration and real conviction of mind, do now in the 
presence of God and this congregation, renounce the errors of 
that Church, and embrace the Protestant rehgion as by law estab- 
"shed in this kingdom called England. 

Thomas Bautctt, Curate and Lecturer. 
Joshua Fleetwood, (Lay Clerk.) 
Aim Roberts, (Vestry Woman.) 
Richard Sharp. Ann Sharp. 

"August 13, 185 1. The Recantation of Timothy Downey and 
Bridget Downey, his wife, in the Church of St. John the Evange- 
list, at six o'clock in the evening on the above day. 
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Chost. 
We, Timothy Downey and Bridget Downey, husband and wife, 
having been brought up and educated in the principles of the 
Church of Rome, upon serious consideration and real conviction 
of mind, do now in the presence of God and of this congregation 
utterly renounce the doctrine of the Church of Rome concerning 
Purgatory, Pardons, worshipping and adoration as well of Images 
as of Reliques, and also Invocation of Saints, and all other 
erroneous doctrines and superstitions, usages of the said Church, 
grounded upon no warrant of Scripture and repugnant to the 
same, and embrace the Faith of the Church of England, as now 
by law established, and we believe the Liturgy, Articles, and 
Homilies of the Church of England to be founded on the Scrip- 
tures and to contain all doctrines necessary to salvation. 

(Signed) Timy- Downey, B. Downey. 
(Signed) John Jennings, Rector. 

Witnesses | ('"'^^"^d) James Jenner 

l „ Elizabetli HannaJi Ber^wicJc. 

The frequency with which the baptism of coloured people 
took place in the middle of the last century, suggests a 
watchful interest on the part of heads of households in the 
welfare of their negroes, and reminds us that the possession 
of a black servant was one of the fashions of the day. 
The following are transcribed as a specimen of the entries 
to be met with : — 

1730. 2 April. John Chaffinch, a Blackamoor, 16 years of age, 

baptized by Mr. Moore. No money. 

1731. Oct. II, Sanders Dover, a Blackamoore boy, aged 13, 
1733. Jan. 10. John Brown, a Blackamore. 

1760. 5 Sept. John James, an adult black. 

1772. Feb. 5. Andrew Clarke, a Mulatto of riper years. 

58 TJie East-window and the Altar-piece. 

1773. Aug. 23. Andrew Jones, an adult Blackmoor. 

1773. Sept. I. John Johnson, an adult Blackmoor. Sarah 

Johnson, an adult Blackmoor. 
1786. Feb. 10. James Murray Clans, an adult Blackmoor. 

Returning from the Vestry Room to the interior of the 
Church, the east window first attracts our attention. It 
consists of three lights, the central one of which is a repre- 
sentation in stained glass of our Lord bearing His Cross. 
One of the side lights contains the figure of St. John the 
Evangelist, the other that of St. Paul. Mr. Walcott states 
that the central figure " is said to have been brought from 
some ancient Church in Rouen," and a loose paper, inserted 
in the Vestry minute book for 1818, bears the inscription, 
" this figure was formerly in one of the windows of the 
Great Church in Rouen." The figure of St. John the Evan- 
gelist was presented by Mr. Thomas Green in April, 181 3 ; 
that of St. Paul was given by the same gentleman in 1818 ; 
and that of our Lord was purchased by the Vestry for £^2 
in June of the same year through Mr. Green's instrumenta- 
lity. The list of Benefactions states that the two figures 
given by Mr. Green came from " the Old Church at Rouen." 
P'rom this, together with the artistic resemblance, it may not 
be improbable that all three parts of the window were 
brought from Normandy. The window was formed and 
completed at the expense of the Church funds in 1818. 

In February, 1827, Mr. Simon Stephenson, solicitor and 
vestry clerk to the Joint Vestries of St. Margaret and St. 
John, presented a valuable painting as an Altar-piece. Mr. 
Walcott says that this work "although attributed to Morales, 
is more likely to have been the work of Francisco Ribalta, 
a Spanish artist, born in 1551." Mr. Stephenson's letter to 
the Vestry, which must have escaped Mr. Walcott's notice, 

leaves no doubt as to the facts : — 

Gre.\t Queen Street, 

"jth February., 182"/. 
Dear Sir, — As there will be a Meeting of the Vestry of your 
parish to-morrow, I have taken the liberty of sending to the 
Vestry Room a copy which I ha\e caused to be made, of the 

Chancel windows. Font. en 

admired painting by Murillo, of Christ bearing the Cross, which 
decorates the Altar of Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford. It has 
been executed by Mr. John Bridges, of that city, an artist of 
acknowledged merit. 

If the gentlemen of the Vestry should deem it worthy to supply 
the want of a painting at the Altar of their beautiful Church, I 
beg the favour of you to present it to them for their acceptance, 
as a small token of my respect, and an acknowledgment of the 
distinguished kindness I have invariably experienced from them. 
I have the honour to remain, &c., 

(Signed) Simn- Stephen.son. 
CHx\rles W. Hallett, Esq., 

CJmrchwarden of Si. JoJufs. 

The Rector, the Rev. H. Holland Edwards, then residing 
at Llanwrst, in North Wales, was consulted before the 
Vestry accepted the gift ; but not having replied to the 
letter, the Vestry passed a profuse resolution of thanks to 
the donor for his splendid addition to the embellishments 
of the Church, expressive of their high admiration of the 
talent of the artist and the taste of his patron, and ap- 
pointed a Committee to wait upon Mr. Stephenson " to 
mark in an especial manner the feelings of the Vestry on 
the occasion." The picture, which is concealed by the 
draping of the Altar during certain of the Church Festivals, 
was hung under the personal supervision of the artist. 

On the north and south sides of the chancel are two 
stained glass windows which can only be seen from the in- 
terior of the Church by approaching the altar rail. These 
were given by Mr. (afterwards Sir) H. A. Hunt and his 
brother in memory of their parents. Mr. Hunt also pre- 
sented the very elegant font and the rails enclosing it. It 
was erected in 1847 from a design by Mr. Charles Barry, 
junior. The carving was the w^ork of the celebrated John 
Thomas, of Lambeth, the sculptor to the House of Commons, 
and the artist of the lions at the Menai Bridge. The font is 3 
feet 10 inches high, 3 feet 2 inches in diameter at the top, and 
is of solid white statuary marble, standing on a step of 
Anstone. The pedestal supporting the bowl is fluted, and 
rises from a plinth of Sicilian marble. At the four corners 

6o Monuments. 

of the bowl are winged demi-angels, with their arms crossed 
upon their breasts or their hands joined in prayer, and the 
rim is ornamented by a leaf moulding. 

Having already noticed the organ in the west gallery and 
the circumstances under which it was built {see p. 48), we 
return to the east end of the south aisle to commence a 
survey of the monuments, and to note the inscriptions 


/// the South Aiste, East end. 
-I. "David Green, Esq., forty years an inhabitant of this parish ; 
during which period he served various parochial offices, and 
was a hberal contributor to the several charities. An affectionate 
husband, a tender father, and a faithful friend. He departed 
this life the 5th day of February, 1837, aged 73." 
Meincnfo homo quia cinis es. 
[A marble tablet on a slate slab, Poole, fecit]. 
*2. "Joseph Bennett, for thirty-six yeais an inhabitant of this 
parish, who departed this life October 30th, 1841, aged 60 

[A marble tablet on a slate slab, Patent Works, Esher-street, Westmr. ] 
3. " In the churchyard of this parish is laid all that was mortal of 
of Jane, wife of the Revd- John Jennings, M.A., the rector 
of this parish, who died September 20th, 1833. Through the 
merits and mercies of her Blessed Redeemer she waits in hojae 
of a Joyful resurrection." 

[A small brass on a slate slab.] 
*4. ' Stephen Cosser, Esq., one of the Justices of the Peace and a 
Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Middlesex ; whose life 
was as distinguished by the confidence, as his death by the 
regrets of his friends ; and whose private virtues, alas ! will be 
feelingly recollected, though inadequately recorded on this 
mute tribute of Gratitude. Born at Edinburgh, 2nd Febry., 
1754. Buried at Chichester, 2nd July, 1806." 
[A fine marble tablet, ornamented with fasces encircled by a wreath 
of oak-leaves, and by the Arms of the deceased — i. Or ; between 
three horses' heads sable, on a chevron, three mullets or 2. Party 
per pale. Gules ; between three crosses fitchees, a chevron 
argent. Or ; three estoilles issuant from crescents gules. — 
Westmacott, junr., fecit.] 
5. " Erected by many attached friends in affectionate Remembrance 
of Susan O'Brien Smith, who died 24 February, 1879, and 
of Louisa Stone Smith, who died 5 June, 1879, beloved 
daughters of Henry Stone Smith." 

" Fellow lielpers to the truth:' 
[Recessed brass tablet within carved arch.] 

Monuments. 6i 

6. " Henry Stone Smith, only son of Capt. John Langdale Smith, 

R.N., and Sarah, his wife. For 86 years an inhabitant of this 
parish, born 1795, <-^'e<^ 1881. He was for 34 years Chief Clerk 
of the Parliament Office, House of Lords, having spent 63 
years in the Public Service. He lived in honour and he died 
in peace. Erected by his surviving daughters and grand- 

[Recessed marl)le tablet within carved arch identical in form with No. 5.] 
At the West end. 

7. The Ven. John Jennings, M.A., Archdeacon of Westminster 

for fifty-one years rector of this parish. Died March 26th, 
1883, in the 85th year of his age. 

[A fine marble monument with a faithful and well executed bust of 
the Archdeacon in basso relievo. — R. Belt, S^-] 
hi the North Aisle, West end. 
"8. George Henry William Knyvett, youngest son of Charles 
Knyvett, Esq^e, of Sonning, Berks. During the last three 
years of his life, he was resident in this parish, where the 
efforts of his fervent charity, and of his unwearied devotion of 
time and labour to the cause of religion, will long survive him. 
He died on the 27th November, 1840, in the 28th year of his 
age, to the great grief of his family, and of the many attached 
friends, who have dedicated this humble tribute to his memory. 
[An elegant marble monument ornamented with a relievo of his 

In the Nor til Aisle, East end. 

10. "Lewls Hertslet, for 58 years a resident in this parish. Died 

15 March, 1870, aged 82. Mary Spencer Hertslet, his 
beloved wife. Died 14 Feb., 1871, aged 61. 
[Recessed marble talilet.] 
And on a small tablet below — 

Hannah Harriet Jemima Hertslet, first wife of the 
above, died 23rd August, 1828. 

11. "John Morris, Esq., of this parish, whose worth and integrity 

secured for him the appointment of chief clerk under six 
successive Lord Chief Barons of the Court of Exchequer, at 
Westminster. He died February, 3rd, 1850, aged 86 years, 
universally respected and regretted." 

[Marble tablet on wood— H. Cuttill, Holloway.] 

12. "By his pupils and fellow teachers in the Sunday School this 

tablet is erected as a humble tribute of respect and affection 
to the memory of Robert Hall, M.A., Barrister-at-Law, 
Recorder of Doncaster, Member of Parliament for the Borough 
of Leeds, and for 20 years a teacher in the Tufton-strect 
Sunday School. Born 15th November, 1801. Died 26th 
May, 1857." 
'"'' Not slothful in Inisiness ; fervent in spirit, seri'ini^ the Lord:^ — 

Rom. xil., 2. 

62 , MoniDJioits. 

"13. " George Tatton, late of this parish. Died 7th July, 1838, 
aged 85 ; also Mrs. Elizal^eth Tatton, died Jany. 17, 1854, 
aged 91. 

[Marble tablet on a slate slal), identical in form with No. 15 — 
J. Gibbs, Millbank-st.] 

*I4. " Mr. John Bacchus and his family late of this parish, who hath 
given and left in trust with the Churchwardens undernamed 
Four hundred pounds Three per cent. Consolidated Annuities, 
the Interest arising therefrom is to keep this inscription and 
the tomb of the family which is in the Burying Ground of this 
Church in Repair when needful, and when Repairs are not 
wanting the whole Interest arising from the same is to be 
given to Ten Poor Housekeepers of this parish of St. John 
the Evangelist by the Church Wardens for the Time being, 
and at their discretion upon every Christmas Day. 

Will- Barret, Esq., ") ^j^^^^.^j^ Wardens, 1777. 
John Williams, ' 

[A plain marble tablet.] 

■15. " Mrs. Elizabeth Mary Hawkes, wife of Mr. Richard Parker 
Tillotson, and daughter of George and Elizabeth Tatton, late 
of this parish. Died 29 September, 1827, aged 47. 

16. " Richard Foot, of Parliament Place, in this parish, died 
2 January, 181 7, aged 71 ; also Mary, relict of the above, 
died 8th August, 1834, aged 84 ; also Richard, died 27th June, 
1818, aged 4 months ; Ellen, died loth October, 1834, aged 5, 
children of John and Charlotte Foot, and grand-children of 
the above. 

•"17. "Joseph Wood, for thrty-six years an inhabitant of this parish, 
died 28th day of June, 1828, at his residence, St. Michael's 
Terrace, Stoke, Devon, aged 62 years." {Then foUoivs an 
eulogistic inscription.) 

[Freestone tablet by R. Johnson.] 

In the South Gallery. 
*i8. " Mr. Hall Wake, late of Millbank-street, stone and marble mer- 
chant, who was many years a select vestryman of this parish 
and by the courtesy of his neighbours was successfully nomi- 
nated and appointed to execute all the various parochial 
commissions and offices. Died 17 day of July, 1827, aged 59 

[A heavy stone monument, with a draped urn on truncated column. — 
Wood, sculp., Bristol.] 

*I9. Richard Farwell, esquire, a Native of this City, a sincere Chris- 
tian, a worthy Magistrate, a true Friend, especially to our 
happy Constitution in Church and State. His remains are de- 
posited in St. Margaret's Churchy to which Parish and to this 

Moninnents. 63 

also He was both living and dying very Beneficent. In respect 
to his Memory this Monument is put up. But his good Works 
will more certainly perpetuate the Name of so pious a man. 
Ob. 25 Feb., 1747. ^t. 70. 

[A large monument, with a draped urn and weeping cherub. Walcott 
mentions the Arms — " Sable ; between three cockle-shells argent, 
a chevron engrailed of the second" — but this ornamentation, 
which was no doubt only painted on the marble escutcheon, has 

20. Edward Harrage, born i8th October, 1798, died 25 June, 1861. 
[A brass mural plate]. 

In the i\ort/i Gallery. 
-21. Jane Sheppard, died 19th August, 1844, aged 41 years. 

*22. ViRO Reverendo ROBERTO PooL P^iNCH, S.T.P., Ecclcsiae 
Divi. Petri Collegii Westmonasteriensis Canonico, hujus 
ParochicC Pastori fidissimo, sacrum, vita ejus eximia Religionis 
ChristiancC, exemplar proposuit, imitabile ; quod docuit, id 
exornavit, pius, probus, benevolus ; natus MDCCXXIV ; 
denatus MDCCCIII. Nesnon Lucios uxori optimte ; obiit 
anno Christi MDCCXCVI, a;tatis LXIX. 

[A marble monument by NoUekens ; Arms — Or: between three 
griffins passant sable, a chevron of the second, charged with a 
shields;-; l^et ween three trefoils slipped sable, a. c\\Q\xovi gules. 
Motto — Doctus iter melius.] 

23. Thomas, sixth son of William Freeman, Esq^e, of Millbank- 
street, Westminster, who died loth January, 1865, aged 36 
years, in hope of eternal life. To record their regret at the 
early death of one who endeared himself to all classes by 
his amiable bearing and active benevolence, many friends and 
neighbours have erected this tablet. 

[Pedestal surmounted by a Latin cross in basso relievo ; Arms ; 
Motto — Vigilans et gratus.] 

(Those marked zuith a?i asterisk are mentioned by IValeott.) 

In pursuance of an order of the Vestry on the 15th May, 
1800, the following inscription was placed on the front of 
the western gallery, nearly above the font: — 

" In Commemoration of their Majesties King Georg'e the Third and 
Queen Charlotte having on the 22nd day of March, 1800, conferred 
on the Noble Family of Grosvenor the high honour of being Sponsors 
in this Church, by their Proxies the Earl Fauconberg and the Countess 
of Harcourt, together with the Loi'd Grey de Wilton in person, to 
Thomas, the second son of Lord Viscount Belgrave. The ceremony 
was perforrned by his Grace John, Archbishop of Canterbury." 

64 ^ vciiwsc inscription. 

As originally j^roposed, the inscription was to have taken 
the following form: — 

This Tablet is Erected 

To commemorate the pious Benignity of 

Their August Majesties : 

King George the third, and 

His Consort Queen Charlotte ; 

Who, on the 22nd day of March. 1800, 


Conferred a singular honour, upon 

The Noble family of Grosvenor : 

In becoming Sponsors at this Baptismal Font ; 

By their Proxies, 

The Earl of P'auconberg, and the Countess of Harcourt, 

With Lord Grey de Wilton, in Person : 

For Thomas, the infant Son of 

Lord Viscount Belgrave. 

The Ceremony was performed 

By His Grace, the Arch Bishop of Canterbury ; 

And considered by the Rector, Churchwardens 

And Vestry of this Parislf 

As an event so exemplary : 

That they unanimously voted this Record ; 

In the hope that it will have an influence 

Upon the minds of Parents, of every Rank, 

To the remotest Posterity. 

From the fact that the writer in the London 
Magazine in 1825 [sec p. 51), does not refer to the inscrip- 
tion, it may have been obliterated in connection \\'ith the 
works described in that notice. If not at that time, it must 
have disappeared in 1844, in the course of the re-decoration 
requisitioned by Archdeacon Sinclair. It existed in 1807,* 
but several of "the oldest inhabitants" who have been con- 
sulted upon the subject, have no recollection of having seen 
the inscription. 

The church was the first in London lighted by gas. The 
proposal, which included warming, was made to the Vestry by 
the Gas Light & Coke Company on 14th October, 181 3, the 
charge to be calculated upon the average cost of coals and can- 
dles during the three years preceding. The offer, as accepted 

* Malcolm's Londvtiii/i! Kediviznini, Vol. IV. p. 168, 

"•Dignified with this high honour" 65 

in September, 18 14, was limited to the lii^hting. In 1842 
"the Bude Light" was introduced on the recommendation 
of Mr. (afterwards Sir) H. A. Hunt, at an outlay of i^ 190. 
On Wednesday, 12th March, 1800, when St. Margaret's 
Church was closed for repairs, St. John's Church became 
"the Church of the. House of Commons," who assembled 
there to a special service held under the King's Proclama- 
tion for the observance of the day as one of solemn fast and 
humiliation.* The sermon was preached by the Rev. Arthur 
Onslow, D.D., Dean of Worcester, and was afterwards 
printed.-f- Application for the accommodation was made 
to the Vestry by Mr. Speaker on 7th February preceding, 
when the pew reserved to "the Churchwardens who have 
passed the chair," was ordered to be specially set apart for 
the Speaker, and to be curtained and upholstered in crimson 

Before leaving the Church we must not omit to notice a very 
fine slate tablet, in a massive carved oak frame, at the west end 
of the Church on the north side, inscribed with a list of the 
24th December, 1757. 
Sir John Crosse, Bart., towards defraying the expense 

of the new Galleries in the Church ... ... ... ^100 

19th November, 1777. 
Mr. John Bacchus, ^400, Three per Cent. Consols, the 
interest whereof to be given to ten poor people upon 
every Christmas-day, in equal proportions, except 
what may be expended in keeping the Monument 
and Tomb of the said Mr. Bacchus, clean and in 
good order ... ... ... ... ... ... ^400 

23rd June, 1782. 
Edward Dickinson, Esq., to the Rector for the time being 
of this Parish, one-third part of the Interest of ^5,000, 
Three per Cent. Consols in trust, to be by him dis- 
tributed yearly for ever amongst three couples who 
shall have been married twelve months next before 
the time of distribution in Easter Week ... ... ^5,000 

* Hume says: "The deficient harvest this year and the consequent high 
price of bread occasioned much distress and discontent, attacks on the farmers, 
millers, and corn dealers were frequent and riots occurred in London." 
t "Gentleman's Magazine," Vol, Ixxi., P.irt I., p. 1 1.9. 


66 Benefactions. 

8th February, 1787. 
Godsalve Crosse, Esq., a Picture of the Ruins of this 
Church, after the fire on Sunday, 26th Septemljer, 

14th March, 1806. 
Mr. James Allen and Mr. William Ginger, Church- 
wardens, an Iron Chest to deposit the Church Plate 
and other articles in. 

23rd April, 1813, and 12th February, 18 18. 
Mr. Thomas Green, the Figures of St. John the Evange- 
list and St. Paul on Stained Glass from the Old 
Church at Rouen, now placed in the East Window 
of this church. 

1 2th February, 1827. 
Simon Stephenson, Esqre., a large Painting hand- 
somely framed as an Altar Piece for this Church, 
from the celebrated Picture by Murillo, in the Chapel 
of Magdalen College, Oxford, of Christ bearing the 

Mr. Henry Arthur Hunt, a new Font with Railing. 

Mr. James Hunt \Towards the Fund for Repairing/ /500 
Mr. John Fowler / this Church i ^100 

Rebecca Alldridge, Widow, ^231 os. 5d. Consols. The 
Interest to be given annually by the Rector, to two 
or more married couples, in the Parish of St. John, 
who have lived together in love and harmony, 
soberly, respectably, and industriously for 3 years 
and upwards ... ... ... ... ... ... ^231 o 5 

Thos. Horn ) Churchwardens. 
T. H. Hartley ) 1864. 

Continiiaiion Tablet over entrance to Wastry Rootn. 

Robert Stafford, Esq. (formerly an Inhabitant of the 
Parish), bec|ueathed by his Will dated June 23rd, 
1865, the sum of ^400 to the Rector and Church- 
wardens for the time being of St. John the Evange- 
list, Westminster, upon trust, to invest the same and 
to divide the Interest thereof on Xmas day in every 
year between ten of the Poor Inhabitants of the said 
Parish whom they shall think proper objects. 

The sum of ;^4oo is invested in New 3 per Cent. 
Stocks £434 3 10 

The Clock; the Vaults. 67 

As we withdraw with admiring eyes still lingering on this 
enduring record of our forefathers' liberality, our attention 
is drawn elsewhere by the striking of the clock above, 
warning us of Time's ' ceaseless course.' The church clock, 
which is in the centre of the pediment on the east side, was 
supplied and fixed by public subscription among the in- 
habitants, at the instance of Mr. Robert Stafford in 1843. 
The dial was illuminated nightly until the year 1849, when 
the lighting was discontinued on the ground of expense. 

On our way out by the staircase leading from the Vestry 
room to the crypt door on the west side, curiosity prompts 
us to open the door facing that by which we shall leave, to 
look at the vaults beneath the church, and with the sound 
of the premonitory bell still fresh upon the ear, the thoughts 
turn involuntarily to — 

" The knell, the shroud, the mattock, and the grave, 
The deep damp vault, the darkness and the worm." 


We are not the first to explore these uninviting depths, for 
the records show that for the first century of their existence 
they were a frequent source of perplexity, and their user 
passed through many vicissitudes. 

The first entry tells us that in 173 1 they were let to Sir 
Thomas Crosse, one of the churchwardens, for the storage 
of coals for use in his brewery close by. In 1734, before the 
days of " casual wards," a report was made that the vaults 
had become "a receptacle for vagrants and beggars," and 
an order was passed for the clearance of the same with a 
view to their being again let to the best advantage. No 
tenant having come forward for two years, a labourer, with his 
wife and family, was permitted to occupy the vaults as a 
dwelling on condition that he swept the pavement round 
the church. In 1736 they were let to a carpenter, of Tufton- 
street, for £12 per annum. Shortly afterwards a movement 
was set on foot to utilise them for sejjulture ; but this was 
not then persevered with owing to objection taken by the 

K 2 

68 " Borne to that same ancient vault." 

owners of the adjacent houses. In 1741 a more determined 
effort in this direction was made, when it was suggested 
that, as no provision on tlie subject was made in the 
Act under which the church was built, legal difficul- 
ties might be experienced. The laymen of the Vestry, 
who remembered that " the law is a sort of hocus-pocus 
science, that smiles in yer face while it picks yer 
pocket ; -and the glorious uncertainty of it is of mair 
use to the professors than the justice of it,"* took 
the precaution of stating a case for the opinion of 
counsel. The opinion is not preserved; but from the 
repeated postponement of its consideration an unwillingness 
to act upon it may safely be deduced. In 1743, some of 
the vaults were let to Mr. Charles Crosse, to supplement 
the storage of his neighbouring brewery, at ;^I5 per annum; 
and in 1748 a further portion was let to the same tenant, 
at one shilling per butt per annum. In 1781, Dr. Blair, the 
Rector, set up a claim of right in the vaults, and attended 
with his attorney to support his claim. The Vestry 
declined to surrender, and instructed their solicitor to 
retain counsel to defend the action which was threatened. 
The action, which was tried before Lord Mansfield, on 
29th May, 1 78 1, resulted in a verdict for the parishioners.-j- 
The vaults under the steps were let for three years from 
October, 1803, for the storage of wine and beer, at £16 per 
annum. A committee appointed to consider the possibility 

* Chas. Macklin ; Love a la Mode. 

t The London Chronicle, of Saturday, 2nd June, 1781, vol. 49, page 522, 
contains the following report of the trial : — " Tuesday last was tried before 
Lord Mansfield, a cause wherein the Rev. Dr. Blair, Prebendary of Westminster, 
and Rector of St. John the Evangelist, Westminster, was Plaintiff, and Mr. 
Byfield and Mr. Gayfere, Churchwardens of the said parish. Defendants. The 
action was brought by the Rector to recover a sum of money received for fees by 
the Churchwardens, by virtue of their office, for laying down grave-stones in the- 
churchyard, and for rent received for vaults under the church, which had, ever 
since the consecration of the church, been received by the Churchwardens on 
the parish account, in ease of the parish towards paying the Rector part of his 
income settled by Act of Parliament, by a pound rate on the inhabitants, &c., 
and after a full hearing, a verdict was given for the Defendants," 

A grave proposal. 69 

of increasing the space available for burials, in 18 13, 
expressed their regret that the vaults were used for the 
storage of beer, and strongly recommended for considera- 
tion by the Vestry, the possibility of " using them more 
advantageously as cemeteries." No action having been 
taken upon this suggestion, it was revived in 1821, by the 
churchwardens, who urged in support of it, that the vaults 
were " capable of holding 2,500 bodies " ! The last tenants, 
according to the records, were Messrs. Starkey, brewers, 
who paid ^^50 per annum for the storage in 1822. The 
tenancy continued for some years ; but there is no mention 
of the vaults being let for any purpose after Archdeacon 
Jennings assumed charge of the parish. 

70 TJie Rectors. 

Chapter III. 

" Such men the Church selected still, 
As either joyed in doing ill, 

Or thought more grace to gain" 


What's orthodox and true believing 
Against a conscience ? A good living 1 
What makes all doctrines plain and clear ''. 
About two hundred pounds a year. 
And that which was proved true before 
Prove false again ? Two hundred more. 


Provision for Rector's Maintenance. — Condition of the Clergy in 
eighteenth century. — Dr. Gee. — Rev. John Villa, M.A. — Dr. Willes. 
— Rev. Joseph Sims, M.A. — Dr. Blair.--Dr. Finch. — Dr. Vincent. — 
Canon Holland Edwards, M.A. ■ — Archdeacon Jennings. — Canon 
Furse. — The Rector's Rate. 

A S the construction of the Church approached comple- 
tion, the Commissioners and the parishioners be- 
thought themselves that no provision had been made for 
the maintenance of a Rector for the newly-formed parish. 
A petition " of the principal and other inhabitants of Mill- 
bank " was therefore presented to Parliament on 23rd 
February, 1726, in which was recited the facts that the 
church was " finished and made fit for Divine Worship, 
that a dwelling house had been built for the minister and 
that the petitioners were willing to provide a competent 
maintenance, by means of a pound rate, for the intended 
minister and his successors," The committee to whom the 
petition was referred reported having taken the evidence of 
William I^^-ench and Robert Waldron, Churchwardens of 
St. Margaret's, from which it appeared that such of the in- 
habitants as lived in the new district could not be supplied 

Provision for the Rectors 7naiiitenance. 7 1 

with seats in the parish church. A Bill was thereupon 
ordered to be brought in,* and this having been done, the 
Rev. Lawrence Broderick, D.D., Minister of the New 
Chapel (now Christ Church) petitioned against the Bill as 
being prejudicial to his interests, and praying to be heard 
by counsel in opposition to its being allowed to pass. The 
progress of the Bill was thereby retarded for a year. On 
the 22nd March, 1727, a petition was again presented by 
the parishioners, in which they urged " that the new church 
is very much wanted for that the greater number of the 
inhabitants cannot be supplied with seats in St. Margaret's 
Church." The interests of the aggrieved minister having 
been safeguarded, a Bill was introduced and passed in the 
same Session (i Geo. II. cap. 15) by which ;^2,5oo was 
granted for investment in land or other securities, and pro- 
vision was made for the raising of ^125 per annum by 
means of a rate upon the occupiers of property within the 
new parish. The Act also secured to the curate of St. 
Margaret's, Dr. Edward Gee, the interest on the £2,500 and 
the produce of the rate, subject to certain payments, and 
conditional upon his " providing or procuring pious and 
learned ministers to officiate in the said new church." A 
provision was also made in the Act (sec. loj that upon the 
curacy of St. Margaret's becoming vacant, the first rector 
of the new parish should be nominated and appointed by 
the King, and all succeeding rectors by the Dean and 

The ^2,500 were applied to the purchase of ^2,41 8 i '^s. od. 
Old South Sea Annuities, which produced ^,"72 1 \s. 2d. per 
annum. Adding to this the ^^125 to be levied by rate, the 
income, irrespective of fees, was ^^197 u^. -d. This was 
charged, however, with the payment of £52 per annum to 
Dr. Lawrence Broderick, of the New Chapel, during his 
ministry, and of ^^17 Si". i\d. to the curate of St. Margaret's 

* Journals of the House of Commons. 

72 Annexation of the Rectory to a Canonry. 

who should succeed Dr. Gee. The fixed income, irrespec- 
tive of fees, was thus left at £127 1 1^. \d., with residence.* 

The Ecclesiastical Commissioners in their Second Report 
(4th March, 1836) stated that the King, having resigned his 
right of appointing to the prebendal stall in Westminster 
Abbey, vacant by the death of Dr. George Holcombe, they 
had annexed it to the parish of St. John, Westminster. 

Matters were placed upon a much more satisfactory basis 
by an Act passed in 1840 (3 and 4 Vict, cap. 113), although 
the enactment as to the levying of the Rector's rate re- 
mained operative. Under this new Act, which has been 
described as " an Act for the abolition of unnecessary 
canonries and for the suppression of sine cure benefices," 
reforms of the first importance to the Church in relation to 
her revenues and expenditure throughout England and the 
Metropolis were introduced. Its provisions affecting West- 
minster suspended six of the canonries, and annexed the 
several rectories of St. Margaret and St. John to two of 
the remaining canonries ; and it enacted " that the succes- 
sors of the Rev. Henry Hart Milman and of the Rev. John 
Jennings shall as Canons of the said Collegiate Church be- 
come ipso facto Rectors of the said respective parishes and 
the parish churches thereof" 

As we proceed to collect the scattered and imperfect 
particulars preserved to us of those who have held spiritual 
charge of the parish, we look in vain for improvement in 
the religious condition of the people as we have seen it at 
the time Queen Anne's Commission sat {see page 19), and 
when, in 171 1, several of the Bishops reported to Convoca- 
tion " the great poverty of divers churches in their dioceses 
by reason whereof Divine Service was not performed within 
several of them above once a fortnight, and in some of thefti 
not so often." Although eighteen years had elapsed since 
the Queen had expressed her great anxiety on these 

* In 1880 the gross income was returned at ;i^27o and house ; for the 
present year (1892) the vahie is given as .7^620 gross. 

Condition of the clergy. yX 

matters, we find Bishop Burnet describing the state of 
religion as most lamentable, the clergy as " dead and life- 
less, the most remiss in their labours in private, and the 
least severe in their lives." The high churchman Atterbury 
declares that the disregard to all religious places, persons 
and things " had scarcely a parallel in any age," and the 
nonconformist Dr. Calamy, of Westminster,* is found com- 
plaining that " the decay of real religion both in and out of 
the church was most visible." The rule had its exceptions; 
but even the brilliant example of Bishop Ken, whose 
blameless life, holy conversation, unfaltering devotion, and 
fervid, simple eloquence, though acknowledged on all sides, 
left no perceptible mark on the leading clergy. Such 
examples were not to be studied in an age which lent its 
readiest encouragement to controversy, and to pluralism. 
We are not surprised, therefore, to read that " it is notorious 
that the Church of this country was never in a more 
inefficient state than during the greater part of the 
eighteenth century. The old school of theology had 
become extinct, and an extremely worldly spirit was 
engendered in the clergy. The clerical habit was gradually 
thrown aside for one more in conformity with the ordinary 
dress of laymen ; and whilst a vast population was 
accumulating, . . few or no attempts were made to 
provide them with the saving knowledge of the Gospel."f 
Pope, in his Diaiciad, published in the year the Church was 
consecrated, wrote : — 

Thence to the banks where rev'rend bards repose, 

They led him soft ; each rev'rend bard arose ; 

And Milbournj chief, deputed by the rest, 

Gave him the cassock, surcingle and vest. 

" Receive " (he said) " these robes which once were mine, 

" Dulness is sacred in a sound divine." 

* Dr. Calamy died 3nd June, 1732. 

t Debaiy. History of the Church of England. 

X A clergyman distinguished for the fairness of his criticisms. 

y^ " T/ie derby's bags are lank and lean." 

and hoped for the time when : — 

One trill shall harmonise joy, grief, and rage, 
Wake the dull Church, and lull the ranting stage. 

Dean Swift, who was contemporary with Pope, proposed 
the significant " Query. — Whether Churches are not dor- 
mitories of the Hving as well as of the dead ? " 

An insight into the condition of the clergy is afforded 
by the following report which is taken verbatim from the 
Gentleman s MagarJne, Vol. LX., Part II., p. 665 :— 

"Friday, July 30, 1790. Case 4. An action brought by a poor 
curate against his rich rector. The counsel stated, that the plaintiff 
had a wife and six children, that he did the duty of two churches for 
the defendant, at a salary of 40/ a year, for which the defendant 
received not less than 700/ a year ; that the plaintiff, who wanted 
bread for his family, had applied in vain to his rector for a quarter's 
salary some little time before it was due, and likewise for payment of 
the money he had laid out for him in wine, gin, and other liquors, when 
he came down occasionally to look at his church ; for which he had re- 
fused to pay, though he could assign no cause. The plaintiff, the 
counsel said, was not near in so good a situation as the footman who 
rode behind the coaches of the clergy. 

The judge said, this was a case in which an application might have 
been made to the Bishop for an increase of salary ; and left it with the 
Jury to state what they thought reasonable for liquors. The Jury gave 
a verdict for 16/ i6j.'' 

The brilliant Coleridge, himself the son of a clergyman, 

beautifully records among his Fears in Solitude, written in 

1798, his deep concern that — 

" The sweet words 
Of Christian promise, words that even yet 
Might stem destruction, were they wisely preached, 
Are muttered o'er by men, whose tones proclaim 
How flat and wearisome they feel their trade : 
Rank scoffers some, but most too indolent 
To deem them falsehoods or to know their truth." 

Macaulay's reference to the condition of the clergy may 
fittingly be called to mind in this connection. He informs 
us that : — - 

"The place of the clergyman in society had been changed by the 
Reformation. Before that event, ecclesiastics had formed the majority 
of the House of Lords, had in wealth and splendour, equalled, and some- 
times oiltshone, the greatest of the temporal barons, and had generally 

Macautay's reference to tJie status of the clergy. 75 

held the highest civil offices. . . . There was no longer an Abbot 
of Glastonbury or an Abbot of Reading seated among the peers, and 
possessed of revenues equal to those of a powerful earl. . . . Once 
the circumstance that a man could read had raised the presumption 
that he was in orders. . . . The spiritual character not only 
ceased to be a qualification for high civil office, but began to be 
regarded as a disqualification. . . . Not one parish in two hundred 
then afforded what a man of family considered as a maintenance. 
. . . Thus the sacerdotal office lost its attraction for the higher 
classes. . . . The clergy were regai'ded as, on the whole, a plebeian 
class. ... A young Levite — such was the phrase then in use, — ■ 
might be had for his board, a small garret, and ten pounds a year, and 
might not only perform his own professional functions, might not only 
be the most patient of butts and of listeners, might not only be always 
ready in fine weather for bowls, and in rainy weather for shovelboard, 
but might also save the expense of a gardener or a groom. Some- 
times the reverend man nailed up the apricots ; and sometimes he 
curried the horses. He cast up the farrier's bills. He walked ten 
miles with a message or a parcel. He was permitted to dine with the 
family ; but he was expected to content himself with the plainest fare. 
He might fill himself with the corned beef and the carrots ; but, as 
soon as the tarts and the cheesecakes made their appearance, he 
quitted his seat, and stood aloof till he was summoned to return thanks 
for the repast, from a great part of which he had been excluded. 

Perhaps, after some years of service, he was presented to a living 
sufficient to support him ; but he often found it necessary to purchase 
his preferment by a species of simony, which furnished an inex- 
haustible subject of pleasantry to three or four generations of scoffers. 
With his cure he was expected to take a wife. The wife had ordinarily 
been in the patron's service : and it was well if she was not suspected 
of standing too high in the patron's favour. . . During severa 
generations the relations between divines and hand-maidens was a 
theme for endless jest. . . Even so late as the time of George the 
Second, the keenest of all observers of life and manners, himself a 
priest [Swift] remarked that in a great household, the chaplain was the 
resource of the lady's maid whose character had been blown upon, and 
who was therefore forced to give up hopes of catching the steward. 

In general the divine who quitted his chaplainship for a benefice 
and a wife, found that he had only exchanged one class of vexations 
for another. Hardly one living in fifty enabled the incumbent to bring 
up a family comfortably. . . . It was a white day on which he was 
admitted into the kitchen of a great house, and regaled with cold meat 
and ale. His children were brought up like the children of the 
neighbouring peasantry. His boys followed the plough ; and his girls 
went out to service. 

In "Tom Jones" (1749), Mrs. Seagrim, the wife of a 
gamekeeper, and Mrs. Honour, a waiting- woman, boast of 

76 Pluralism. 

their descent from clergymen. " It is to be hoped," says 
Fielding, " such instances will in future ages, when some 
provision is made for the families of the inferior clergy, 
appear stranger than they can be thought at present." 

So lately as the opening years of the present century we 
find Wordsworth, moved by the corruptions of the higher 
clergy, inditing his warning which commences : — 

" Woe to you, prelates ! rioting in ease 
And cumbrous wealth — the shame of your estate ; 

Who will be served by others on their knees, 
Yet will yourselves to God no service pay ; 
Pastors who neither take nor point the way 
To Heaven ; for either lost in vanities 
Ye have no skill to teach, or if ye know 
And speak the word — Alas ! of fearful things 
'Tis the most fearful when the people's eye 
Abuse hath cleared from vain imaginings." 

Pluralism was no doubt responsible for the privations and 
indignities to which many of the assistant clergy were 
subjected, and although the Act of 7 Geo. III. invested 
the Bishops with considerable power as to enforcing the 
performance of Divine Service in the churches twice on 
every Sunday, it was not until the Spring of 1832, that the 
Restriction of Pluralities Act removed many of the diffi- 
culties traceable to the system — a system under which 
6,124 parishes were stated by a noble Lord to be without 
resident incumbents, and which was denounced in the 
House of Lords as " a taint on the whole Establishment." 

We would fain exonerate the Rectors of St John's from 
the reflections which the foregoing references suggest; but 
when we find a parish subjected for well nigh a hundred 
years to the inconveniences inseparable from the living 
being held by pluralists and non-resident rectors, such 
exoneration is forbidden. Had it been otherwise we should 
not have found Churchill, who was curate of the parish 

An absent Rector and a starving Curate yy 

from 1758-9 to 1763-4, writing in his dedication to 
Dr. Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester : — 

" Much did I wish, e'en whilst I kept those sheep. 
Which, for my curse, I was ordained to keep, 
Ordain'd alas ! to keep through need, not choice, 
Those sheep wJiich never heard their shepherd's voice." 

In his Author also, published in 1763, during the rector- 
ship of the Rev. Joseph Sims, who held at the same time 
the rectory of East Ham, the profligate poet-priest 
writes : — 

" Condemn'd (like many more and worthier men 
To whom I pledge the service of my pen) 
Condemn'd (whilst proud and pamper'd sons of lawn 
Cramm'd to the throat in lazy plenty yawn) 
In pomp of reverend beggary to appear, 
To pray and sfan'c on forty poiC7ids a year P 

From the brief notices which follow, it will be seen that 
some of the Rectors of the parish attained positions of dis- 
tinction in other respects, though some were content to 
delegate much of the responsible work in the parish to 
their curates. 

The autographs of the Rectors have been collected, and 
are reproduced on the next page. It will be observed that 
the three signatures of Dr. Edward Willes, the third Rector, 
are given — his usual one before his elevation to the 
episcopal bench, and his official signatures as the Bishop- 
elect of St. David's, and as the spiritual father of Bath and 
Wells :— 


The first officiating Rector. 79 

I. — EDWARD GEE, D.D., 1728-30. 

Dr. Gee, who was 71 years of age at the time the church 
was consecrated, was not formally appointed to the rectory, 
but was required to perform Divine service in consideration 
of the provision made in his favour in the Act of i Geo. II. 
(see page 71). He was the son of George Gee, a shoe- 
maker, of Manchester. Born in 1657, and baptized in the 
Collegiate Church, Manchester, on 29th August of that 
year, he was educated at the Manchester Grammar School, 
and was admitted thence to St. John's College, Cambridge, 
on 9th May, 1676. He graduated B.A. in 1679, M.A., 1683, 
and his D.D. degree was conferred upon him by Archbishop 
Tenison on 8th February, 1695. He was a protestant 
writer of great prominence in early life, and towards the 
end of James II.'s reign took a leading part in the popish 
controversy, in the course of which he published several 
tracts included in the list of works given on the next page. 
He was Vicar of Great Wilbraham, Cambridge, in 1685, 
Rector of St. Benets, Paul's Wharf, 1688- 1706, Chaplain in 
Ordinary to William III. and Queen Mary, Rector of 
Chevening, Kent, 1707- 1730, Minister of the Duke Street 
Chapel in 1708-17, and Curate^and Lecturer of St. Mar- 
garet's Westminster, 1724- 1730, during the last two years 
of which he officiated at St. John's. 

Dr. Gee was installed Prebendary of Westminster 6th 
December, 1701, Dean of Peterborough, 9th December, 
1721, Canon of Lincoln, 5th April, 1722, and Dean of Lin- 
coln, 2ist May, 1722. He had license on the 25th January, 
1702-3, from the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, to marry in Lambeth Palace Chapel, Jane 
Limbrey, of Haddington, in the parish of Upton-Gray, 
Hants, spinster, daughter of Henry Limbrey, of London, 
Merchant, and of Hoddington. She died 8th April, 1733, 
aged 66, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. 

Dr. Gee died on ist March, 1729-30, and was interred in 
the Abbey. 

8o Di: Gees zvorks and fears. 

The following are among the tracts written by Dr. Gee : — 

1. Veteres Vindicati, in an expostulatory letter to Mr. Sclater, of 

Putney, upon his Consensus Veterum, 1687. 

2. An answer to the compiler of the Nubes Testium, 1688. 

3. A Vindication of the Principles of the Author of the Answer to 

the compiler of the Nubes Testium, 1688. 

4. The Primitive Fathers no Papists, 1688. 

5. The Judgment of Archbishop Cranmer concerning the People's" 

right to and discreet use of the Holy Scriptures, 1689. 

6. A Letter to Father Lewis Sabran, Jesuit, concerning the Invocation 

of Saints, 1688. , 

7. A Second Letter to Father Lewis Sabran, Jesuit, in answer to his 

reply, 1688. 

8. A Third Letter to Father Lewis Sabran, Jesuit, 1688. 

9. A Letter to the Superiours (whether Bishops or Priests) which 

approve or license the Popish books in England, 1688. 

10. The Texts examined which Papists cite out of the Bible for the 

proof of their Doctrine concerning the worship of Images 
and Rcliques, 1688. 

11. The Texts examined which Papists cite out of the Bible for the 

proof of their Doctrine concerning the Seven Sacraments and 
the efficacy of them. In two parts, 1688. 

12. The Catalogue of all the Discourses published against Popery 

during the reign of King James II., 1689. 

Dr. Gee also published : — 

1. The Jesuits' Memorial for the intended Reformation of England 

under their first Popish Prince, published from the copy that 
was presented to the late King James II., with an Introduction 
and some animadversions. London. 1690. 8vo. 

(This ' Memorial,' written by Robert Parsons, the Jesuit, was 
originally printed in 1596). 

2. Of the Improvement of Time. A sermon on Ephesians v., 16. 

Preached before the Queen at Whitehall, Aug. 7, 1692 
London. 1692. 4to. 

Dean Swift, in his Occasional Notes, records that " Dr. 
Gee, Prebendary of Westminster, who had writ a small 
paper against popery, being obliged to travel for his health, 
affected to disguise his person and change his name as he 
passed thro' Portugal, Spain, and Italy, telling all the Eng- 
lish he met that he was afraid of being murdered or put 
into the Inquisition. He was acting the same farce at 
Paris, till Mr. Prior, who was then Secretary to the Em- 
bassy, quite disconcerted the Doctor by maliciously dis- 

''Am I not a Prelate of the Churchr 8i 

covering the secret, and offering to engage, body for body, 
that not a creature would hurt him or had ever heard of 
him or his pamphlet." 

2. — JOHN VILLA, A.M., 173O-1735. 
Son of Peter Villa, of the City of London, was educated 
at Westminster School, to which he was elected in 1684, 
proceeding to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was 
admitted a pensioner on 5th June, 1687, at the age of 
sixteen. He matriculated on 9th July following, and 
graduated B.A. in 1690. He was for many years preceptor 
to the Princess Royal of Prussia, and was presented to the 
rectory of St. John the Evangelist by King George H., 
his presentation having passed the Great Seal on 20th 
August, 1730. He died early in 1736. 

3. — EDWARD WILLES, D.D., 1 736- 1 742. 

Son of the Rev. John Willes, D.D., Prebendary of 
Lichfield and Rector of Bishops-Itchington, Warwickshire, 
by Annie, daughter of Sir William Walker, of the City of 
Oxford, Knt., was born 6th March, 1693-4. He matricu- 
lated at Oxford, from Oriel College, 26th February, 1708-9, 
and took the degrees of B.A., on 30th Oct., 17 12, M.A., 6th 
July, 171 5, and B.D., and D.D., on 8th July, 1726. He 
was instituted to the rectory of Barton-le-Cley, Bedfordshire, 
7th November, 17 18, and was installed Prebendary of 
Westminster on 26th August, 1724, Canon of Lincoln, 13th 
May, 1730, and Dean of Lincoln on the i6th idem. He 
became rector of Bonsell, Derbyshire, in 1734, and on 31st 
March, 1736, was instituted to the rectory of St. John the 
Evangelist, Westminster. Dr. Willes, who held the office 
of " Decipherer to the King," was consecrated Bishop of 
St. David's on 2nd January, 1742-3, and was translated in 
the December next following to the See of Bath and Wells. 

The following quaint account of his marriage is given in 
Reliquice Hearnmncs, ed. 1869, vol. H., page 89 : — 

"Feb. 6(1718-19). On Monday morning last, Mrs. Jenny White, 


82 TJie Rectors. The Rev. Joseph StJiis. 

daughter of Alderman White, of Oxford, was married in Merton 
College chapell to Mr. Willes of Oriel coll. who is King George's de- 
cypherer, and hath lately got a very good parsonage in Hartfordshire. 
This gentleman is one of the Co/istiiutioncrs, as they are called, and is 
a very great Whig, as is also Alderman White, whose eldest daughter, 
Mrs. Mary White (looked upon as a great beauty, as Mrs. Jenny 
White is also handsome) married a gentleman of University Coll., who 
had little or nothing (though he hath got some preferment since) at 
the same time that she might have had Mr., now Dr., Clavering, who 
hath got about a thousand a year. Mr. Willes and Mrs. Jenny took 
coach and went out of town immediately after they were married." 

Six of their children were baptized in Westminster 
Abbey, where also four were buried. 

Mrs. Willes died on 9th October, 1771, and was interred 
in the Abbey. 

The fire which destroyed the interior of St. John's Church 
happened during Dr. Willes' rectorship ; but the duties of 
his bishopric at St. David's prevented his return to attend 
to the affairs of his parish until six weeks after the occur- 
rence. Having a few months later resigned the rectory, he 
pressed the Vestry for payment of the allowance from the 
rector's-rate for the quarter in which the fire took place. 
The parish purse had become quite impoverished by the 
disaster, and the Bishop's demand was only satisfied by 
one of the churchwardens advancing the amount in arrear, 
^31 5s., from his own pocket. 

Dr. Willes died at Hill-street, Berkeley-square, on 24th 
November, 1773, aged 80, and was interred in Westminster 
Abbey on ist December following. 

4. — JOSEPH SIMS, A.M., 1 742- 1 776, 
Was born on 1 3th February, 1695, and educated at 
Merchant Taylors' School, where he was admitted on 13th 
September, 1706. He matriculated as a sizar from 
Catharine Hall, Cambridge, on 12th April, 17 12, and 
graduated B.A., in 1714, proceeding M.A., in 1718. He 
was Chaplain to Dr. Joseph Wilcocks, cucessively Bishop 
of Gloucester and Rochester, whom he succeeded as 
chaplain to the English factory at Lisbon. Mr. Sims, 

" A losing suit against Jiimr 83 

who was instituted to the rectory of St. John the Evan- 
gehst, Westminster, on the 17th February, 1742, was 
installed prebendary of North Kelsey, in Lincoln Cathedral, 
26th March, 1747-8, and prebendary of Eald-street in St. 
Paul's Cathedral on 6th. December following. In January, 
1756, he was collated by the Bishop of London to the 
vicarage and parish church of St. Mary Magdalen, East 
Ham, Essex, where he subsequently rebuilt the parsonage 
house at his own expense. A suit by which Mr. Sims, as 
vicar of East Ham, claimed tithes of beans and peas, was 
determined against him both in Chancery, in Michaelmas 
Term, 1756, and on Appeal to the House of Lords in 
December, 1762. (See Burn's £'^c/^j-/«j-^zV^/ Z^w, ed. 1763, 
Vol. n. p. 400). A copy of the printed judgment [Lond. 
1762, folio], is in the British Museum. Mr. Sims married 
in the parish church of St. George-the-Martyr, Bloomsbury, 
on 2ist August, 1750, Winifred Stevens, widow, of the 
parish of St. John the Evangelist, Westminster. He pub- 
lished : — 

"A sermon [on Neh.IL, 19, — " What is this thing that ye do. Will 
ye rebel against the King?"] on Occasion of the present 
Rebellion. Preach'd in the parish church of St. John the Evan- 
gelist, Westminster, on Sunday, September 22, 1745. Lon- 
don : Printed for John Stagg, in Westminster-Hall, 1745." 
"Fifteen Sermons on Various Subjects." London : 1772. 8vo. 

Mr. Sims appears to have devoted his attention principally 
to the parish of East Ham, the charge of the parish of 
St. John being entrusted to Charles Churchill, and subse- 
quently to his talented but dissipated son, the poet. The 
senior Churchill was rector of Rainham, in Essex, during 
the time he held the curacy and lectureship in St. John's. 

Mr. Sims died at the rectory-house of St. John's, on 
28th April, 1776, and was interred in the churchyard of East 
Ham, where his wife was also buried, 22nd September, 1768. 
5.— JOHN BLAIR, LL.D., 1 776- 1 782. 

Belonged to the Blairs of Balthayock, Perthshire. He 

Y 2 

84 The Rectors. An eminent chronologist. 

was born in 1723 (exact date unknown) in Edinburgh, in 
which city he was also educated. Coming to London at an 
early age, he became usher of a school in Hedge Lane, and 
on the 7th March, 175 1, was honoured by the University of 
Aberdeen with the degree of LL.D. He was in Holy Orders 
in 1754, when the publication of his iiiagnuni opus, "The 
Chronology and History of the World from the Creation to 
the Year of Christ, 1753, illustrated in LVI. Tables," brought 
him a world-wide reputation as a chronologist. In Septem- 
ber, 1757, he was appointed chaplain to the Princess 
Dowager of Wales and mathematical tutor to the Duke 
of York. Having been created M.A. at Cambridge per 
Literas Regias early in 1761, Dr. Blair became Prebendary 
of Westminster on loth March of that year, and in the same 
year had the vicarage of Hinckley, Leicestershire, and the 
rectory of Barton-Coggles, Lincolnshire. He was chosen 
F.S.A. on loth December, 1761. In March, 1771, he be- 
came vicar of St. Bride's, P^leet-street, which he resigned in 
April, 1776. He was instituted to the rectory of St. John 
the Evangelist, Westminster, on the 9th July of that year, 
and held simultaneously the rectory of Horton, Bucks. 

Dr. Blair was elected F.R.S. in 1755, in recognition of 
his fame as a scholar and mathematician. His great chrono- 
logical work, was reprinted in 1756, 1768, 1779, 1803, and 
1 8 14, fol., and edited by Sir Henry Ellis in 1844, and 185 1, 
8vo. It was ' revised and enlarged' by J. Willoughby Rosse 
in Bohn's 'Scientific Library,' 1856, 8vo., and Bohn's 
* Reference Library,' 1882, 8vo. 

Dr. Blair also published : — 
X. Fourteen Maps of Ancient and Modern Geography, for the illus- 
tration of the Tables of Chronology and History. To which is 
prefixed a Dissertation on the rise and progress of Geography. 
London, 1768. Large fol. 

2. The History of the rise and progress of Geography. Lond., 1784. 

12 mo. (A partial reprint of the former work). 

3. Lectures on the Canon of the Scriptures ; comprehending a Dis- 

sertation on the Septuagint Version. Lond., 1785. 4to. (posth). 

Dr. Blair also comrnunicated to the Philosophical Tran- 

Dr. Poole Finch. 85 

suctions of the Royal Society in 1755 (vol.49, pt. i. pp. 367, 
379) Accounts of the Agitation of the Water at Earley 
Court, near Reading, Berk.shire, and at White-rock, near 

Dr. Blair married at St. Margaret's, Westminster, on 
22nd February, 1770, Ann Persode, daughter of Col. John 
Darby, who survived him and administered to his estate 
7th July, 1782. Nine of his children were baptised in West- 
minster Abbey. 

His death took place on 24th June, 1782, at the age of 
fifty-nine, and he was buried in the Abbey. 

6. — ROBERT POOLE FINCH, D.D., 1782-1803. 
A son of the Rev. Richard Finch, was born at Greenwich 
on 3rd March, 1724, and baptised in the parish church there 
on the loth March following. In 1736 he entered Merchant 
Taylors' School, and at the age of nineteen (1743) graduated 
B.A. from Peterhouse Cambridge, proceeding M.A., in 
1747, and D.D., in 1772. On the 23rd September, 1744, 
being then twenty years of age, he was ordained deacon, 
and three years later was appointed to the curacy of a 
populous parish on the borders of the metropolis. Imme- 
diatelyafter he had taken priest's orders, he was unanimously 
chosen chaplain of Guy's Hospital, which position he held 
for 37 years, during part of which period he was engaged in the 
curacy of another metropolitan parish. In 1755 he was ap- 
pointed by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, to the 
lectureship of St. Bartholomew's behind the Exchange, 
which he continued to hold to the time of his death. In 
1 77 1, Dr. Finch was chosen rector of St. Michael's, Cornhill ; 
and on ist November, 1781, he was installed prebendary of 
Westminster. On the 4th December, 1782, he was collated 
by the Dean and Chapter to the rectory of St. John the 
Evangelist, upon which he resigned the living of St. 
Michael's. He also held the office of Treasurer to the 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge for more than 
twenty years. 

86 TJic Rectors. Dean Vincent. 

Dr. Finch, who was an eminent preacher, and " an un- 
commonly fine and graceful person," published several 
occasional sermons, and was the author of: — 

1. Considerations upon the use and abuse of Oaths judicially taken, 

particularly in respect to perjury. Lond. 1788. 8vo. ; and 
ed. 1789, 8vo., 1800, 1807, i2mo., which became a standard 
work among the publications of the Society for Promoting 
Christian Knowledge. 

2. Tracts, containing a Defence of the Doctrine of Regeneration ; 

Advice to Young Clergymen ; Thoughts on the Sovereignty 
of God, etc. Lond. 1793, 8vo. 

Mrs. Lucy Finch, wife of Dr. Finch, died on nth March, 
1796, aged sixty-seven, and was buried in Westminster 

Dr. Finch died on i8th May, 1803, and was interred in 
Westminster Abbey on 26th idem. Administration of his 
estate (personalty sworn under ;;/^20,ooo), was granted on 
6th June, 1803, to his only child, Thomas Finch, Esq., F.R.S. 

Walcott, in his Memorials of Westminster, 1849, p. 314, 
quotes from the inscription on the mural monument 
in the Church, that Mrs. Finch died in 1746 ; but this is an 
error, as will be seen by reference to the inscription at p. 63. 
The age is stated on the monument as 69, whereas the 
Abbey registers give it as (Sj. 

7. — WILLIAM VINCENT, D.D., 1803-1806. 
The fifth son of Giles Vincent, an opulent Portugal 
merchant, and Deputy of Lime Street Ward, was born on 
2nd November, 1739, and admitted to Westminster School 
in 1753. He was elected to Trinity College, Cambridge, 
in 1757, whence he graduated B.A. in 1761. Having been 
chosen Fellow of his college, he proceeded M.A. in 1764, 
and D.D. in 1776. In 1762 he was appointed usher of 
Westminster School ; in 1771 he became second master, 
and returned as Head-master in September, 1788. After 
having held the Vicarage of Longdon, Worcestershire, for 
a few months in 1778, he became, in the same year, rector 
of All Hallows the Great and Less, London. Resigning 

Canon Edivards. 8/ 

this benefice in 1803, he was instituted on the 31st May 
of that year to the rectory of St. John's, which he held 
until 1806, when he presented himself to the rectory of 
Islip, Oxfordshire, a living in the gift of the Dean and 
Chapter of Westminster, which he held until his death. 
He was installed prebendary of Westminster on 21st April, 
1 801, and Dean of Westminster on 7th August, 1802, on 
the consecration of Dr. Horsley as Bishop of St. Asaph. 

Dr. Vincent was also chaplain to the King, 1771 ; sub- 
almoner, 1784; President of Sion College, 1798; and 
Prolocutor to the Lower House of Convocation, 1802. He 
was author of ' The Voyage of Nearchus from the Indus 
to the Euphrates,' London, 1747, 4to, and published 
numerous other valuable works, translations, sermons, etc., 
from 1784 to 1809. Vol. I. of his 'Sermons on Faith, 
Doctrines, and Public Duties ' was published by his son, 
the Rev. William St. Andrew Vincent, in 18 17, and con- 
tained a life of the author by the Rev. Robert Nares, 
afterwards Archdeacon of Stafford ; vol. H. appeared in 
1836, 8vo. 

Dean Vincent died on 21st December, 181 5, and \\as 
buried on 29th idem in St. Benedict's Chapel in West- 
minster Abbey. 

8.— HOWEL HOLLAND EDWARDS, M.A., 1806-1832. 

Son of the Rev. Edward Edwards, of Caerhun, co. Car- 
narvon, was born at Pennant, Eglwysfach, Denbigh, on 6th 
November, 1762. He matriculated at the age of eighteen 
from Christ Church, Oxford, on 30th May, 1782 ; graduated 
B.A., on 3rd May, 1786, and proceeded M.A. on 14th 
January, 1789. He was sometime librarian and chaplain 
to the Duke of Marlborough, from whom he received the 
rectory of the Second Portion of Waddesdon, Bucks, on 
31st May, 1794. In 1799 he was nominated to the rectory 
of Pennant, his native town, with which benefice he also 
held the vicarage of Llanwrst, in the same county. He 

88 The Rectors. Tivcniy-one years absence. 

was elected to the prcbcndal stall of Llanvair First Portion 
in St. Asaph Cathedral on 19th April, 1799; was installed 
prebendary of Westminster on 31st May, 1803, and was 
instituted to the rectory of St. John the Evangelist on the 
25th March, 1807. On loth April in the same year Canon 
Edwards obtained a license from the Archbishop of Canter- 
bury and the Bishop of London to be absent from the 
parish for twenty-one years. By the same license the 
yearly stipend of iJ"iOO, with the use of the rectory house 
and garden, was assigned to the Rev. Joshua Nussey, as 
curate in charge. The pew rents and burial fees being 
sufficient to raise this stipend, no ' rector's rate ' was made 
during his non-residence. Canon Edwards' signature only 
occurs in the Register of Baptisms four times during his 
twenty-six years' tenure of the rectory. 

Canon Edwards married in St. George's Church, Han- 
over-square, by license, on 12th May, 1798, Caroline Palmer, 
of the same parish, spinster, daughter of Robert (? Richard) 
Palmer, Esq., of Hurst, Berkshire, and of Great Russell- 
street, Bloomsbury, many years agent to the Duke of 
Bedford. Mrs. Edwards died on 22nd April, 1834, aged 
sixty-nine years, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. 

Canon Edwards, who resigned the rectory in 1832, died 
on 29th September, 1846, aged 83, and was interred in the 
north aisle of the Abbey. 

9. — JOHN JENNINGS, M.A., 1832-1883. 

Son of John Jennings of Llnest-Hen, Cardiganshire, was 
born in 1798. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin, he 
graduated B.A. in 1820, and proceeded to the degree 
of M.A. in the year 1832. After having held the 
curacy of West Meon, Hampshire, for some years, Mr. 
Jennings came to St. John's as curate under Canon 
Edwards, upon whose resignation he was instituted to the 
rectory on the 29th P'cbruary, 1832. He was gazetted 
canon residentiary of Westminster, on 9th January, 1837; 

A new order of things. ArcJidcacon Jennings. 89 

became Rural Dean of St. Margaret and St. John, and 
Archdeacon of Westminster, in 1868, and was for some 
years Sub-Dean. Canon Jennings was chaplain to the 
Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, and was 
chaplain to the Lord Mayor (Alderman Johnson) in 1845. 

Archdeacon Jennings, who was twice married, died at his 
house, 18, Dean's-yard, on 26th March, 1883, aged eighty- 
four, and was buried at Lyne, near Chertsey, in Surrey. 

Out of respect to his wish, which led him to destroy 
all his papers shortly before his death, no attempt is made 
to indite anything approaching a biographical notice of his 
long and active life in the parish. There are, however, 
many surviving members of his congregation who will 
naturally expect to find at least a passing reference to the 
reformation of the parish, in matters ecclesiastical, which 
was entirely due to his untiring devotion. 

Of the Rectors of St. John's, or 

" Of most, all mention, memory, thought are past — 
But take a slight memorial of the last." 

Among the many friends of Mr. Jennings, when he came 
to London as curate to the Rev. Howel Holland Edwards, 
was the Rev. Richard (afterwards Canon) Harvey, who, as 
Mr. Jennings came from the country " while yet he wore the 
rose of youth upon him " to enter upon his labours in 
London, was about to leave London to take the rectory of 
Hornsey, then as much a country village as if it had been 
in the middle of Yorkshire. The one was a robust, hearty, 
vigorous young country gentleman, of agreeable presence, 
the other a thorough Londoner. Neither found it easy to 
settle down to the peculiar demands of his parish. Mr. 
Harvey, slow to appreciate the advantages of a country 
life, sighed to return to town ; Mr. Jennings, unable easily 
to reconcile himself to the heavy demands of a London 
curacy, with a non-resident rector, inclined towards the 
country side of life again. An exchange of livings between 
the two young clergymen was accordingly proposed ; but a 

90 TJic Rectors. Archdeacon Jeiniings. 

trifling incident led to its being abandoned. They there- 
upon entered in real earnest upon their duties in their 
respective parishes, where they were each permitted to 
labour uninterruptedly for more than fifty years. Much of 
the success which attended Mr. Jennings' early ministry at 
St. John's was due to his unaffected sympathy with the 
young men of the j^arish — a characteristic which had made 
him deservedly popular in his Hampshire curacy. Here, 
on one occasion, a disagreement had arisen between the 
Rector and " the lads of the village," in consequence of 
their having preferred the physical exercises of the cricket- 
field to the devotional exercises of the Church on the 
Sunday afternoons. The rector had forbidden the use of 
the cricket-field, and had enjoined the sportive members of 
his flock to repair to the Church, and their disobedience had 
incurred the rectorial displeasure. So completely had the 
young curate won the confidence of the lads, that they 
sought his counsel in the situation. Their plea of hard 
work, and ' long hours,' and the harmlessness of the recre- 
ation, in itself so far availed with the young curate, as to 
result in a compromise by which both parties were brought 
to agreement. The young fellows were afterwards to be 
seen on their way to church with their cricketing accessories, 
which they deposited in the churc}iyard while they attended 
the afternoon service, to be ' pitched ' in the meadow for 
the remainder of the day upon the dismissal of the 

Mr. Jennings applied himself to the duties of his curacy 
with great zeal until the resignation of his rector, and not 
less so after he had succeeded to the rectory. In 1837, a 
prebendal stall in the Abbey w^as bestowed upon him by 
Lord Melbourne, then Prime Minister. The honour was 
conferred upon him without solicitation or previous con- 
sultation. His first knowledge of the fact was derived from 
the columns of the daily newspaper, so that ' he awoke 
one morning and found himself famous.' In 1840 {sec 
p. 72), a canonry became annexed to the rectory by law. 

Evening service connnenced. ^I 

It fell to Canon Jennings' lot to assist in the magnificent 
service at the Abbey on the coronation of Her present 
Majesty, when the Queen's contribution to the offertory 
took the form of a large nugget of gold. This treasure the 
Canon purchased at its full value, and had it beaten into a 
handsome cup, which he highly prized. He was the last 
surviving clergyman who assisted at the ceremony. 

During the rule of all former rectors there had been but 
two services, morning and afternoon, on Sundays. The 
new rector early initiated a movement for the establish- 
ment of a third, or evening service, in which he consulted 
with his parishioners and received their hearty support. 
This brought an unlocked for, though temporary, trouble, 
for the Lecturer endeavoured to assert his right to officiate 
at these popular services. Mr. Jennings found it necessary, 
in order to maintaiji his absolute authority, to keep the 
pulpit locked until actually required. The beadle would 
then precede the rector up the steps, unlock the door for 
his admission, lock it again, and return to release him on 
the conclusion of the discourse. Although the expenses of 
the evening service were partly defrayed by the parishioners' 
subscriptions, Canon Jennings for many years appropriated 
towards the fund, upon the condition specified in the 
following characteristic letter, the whole of the stipend 
allowed to the clergy in connection with the additional 

duty : — 

Rectory, Nov. 20, 1846. 

Adopting fully the views of those respectable Parishioners, 
who in December, 1834, memorialized the then Churchwardens on 
the subject of an Evening Service in St. John's Church, "/« order 
to provide increased religious instruction for the Poor" and being 
anxious to carry out to the best of my humble endeavours 
the principles laid down in the said Memorial, so accordant with 
the spirit of the Gospel, and so beautifully adapted for all times 
and places, but peculiarly so for our Parish, in which the pro- 
portion of the Inhabitants, who can afford to pay for sittings in 
Church, is smaller perhaps than in any other Parish in the 
Metropolis, containing an equally large Population, I now 

92 The Rectors. Archdeacon Je-inings. 

address you and request, that you will kindly submit to the Vestry, 
my intention to forego and my wish to give up after next Xtmas, 
the Fifty Pounds which has been annually paid to me since the 
year 1834 by successive Churchwardens on account of the 

Evening Service. 1 have to express my earnest hope, that the 

Vestry will be pleased to give up for the use of the Poor, Pews to 

that amount at all the Services. 1 would respectfully suggest, 

that no alteration be made in the present rent of the sittings that 
may still be let, and that a certain number of Pews either in the 
Gallery or on the ground floor, should be set apart for the Poor. 
I am persuaded that those Persons who pay for their Sittings wil 
cheerfully continue to pay the same rent as heretofore, when they 
learn that thereby they contribute to secure for an increased 
number of their poorer brethren and neighbours, those blessed 

privileges of religious worship, which they themselves enjoy. 

My experience of the kindness and right feeling of the Vestry for 
so many years encourages me to anticipate its ready and cordial 
co-operation in providing, as far as circumstances will permit, 
" increased religious Instruction for the Poor " by giving them 
more accommodation in the Parish Church. 

I have the honour, to be, Gentlemen, 

Your obedient and faithful servant. 
The Churchwardens of JOHN JENNINGS, 

St. John the Evangelist., Rector. 


Having found that the additional service on Sundays was 
inadequate to the growing demands of his parish, the Rector 
conceived the idea of erecting an additional church, and of 
obtaining its endowment. He persevered until he obtained 
his reward in the consecration of the church dedicated to 
St. Mary the Virgin, Tothill-fields, and in the opening of 
the commodious schools attached thereto. 

Impelled by the educational necessities of the poor, in- 
cited by the scope for further Church effort in the now 
teeming population of his parish, and aided by the munifi- 
cence of individuals. Canon Jennings rejoiced to see the 
consecration, within the next twenty-five years, of four 
other churches within his own parish — St. Stephen's, 1847 ; 
St. Matthew's and Holy Trinity, 1852 ; and St. James the 
Less, 1 86 1. The Rev. Arthur Warner, M.A., rector of 
St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, who was for some years curate 
of St. John's, and subsequently vicar of St. Mary's, vincent- 

" His heaven coinine7tces ere the world be past^ 93 

square, thus concisely sums up " the marvellous work ac- 
complished by Archdeacon Jennings during his incumbency 
of half a century. He found one church, one rector, 
seldom resident, one curate, and one small Sunday school 
in a hired room. He left six churches, each with National 
and Sunday schools, seventeen clergy ; while the popula- 
tion had about doubled. It is, I believe, the best record for 
one life's work, in its own line, that we have." 

In July, 1882, on the completion of fifty years' work, the 
parishioners presented Archdeacon Jennings with a con- 
gratulatory testimonial as a token of their unabated esteem 
and regard, one of the speakers remarking on the occasion 
that " though all had changed in the parish since the 
Rector came, his devotion to the parish and his active 
interest in it, remained unchanged." The aged rector 
replied with emotion that he had always endeavoured to 
show that the relation between a rector and his parishioners 
should be real and true. In referring to the anxieties which 
the necessities of his densely inhabited parish had caused 
him, he was not ashamed to recollect that during the build- 
ing of St. Matthew's Church, he was so overcome by his 
responsibilities as to retire to his room and find relief in 
crying. He could express his anxieties to some extent ; 
but his happiness was simply inexpressible when he 
thought upon what he had assisted in doing in their midst. 

" Needs there the praise of the love written record — 
The name and the epitaph graved on the stone ; 
The things he had lived for, let them be our story ; 
He but remembered by what he has done." 

As already stated. Archdeacon Jennings died at 18, 
Dean's-yard, on 26th March, 1883. On 2nd April his 
mortal remains were placed in the sacred edifice in which 
he had so long and so faithfully ministered. Next morning 
they were borne by way of the West Cloisters to the Choir 
of the Abbey, where the first part of the funeral service 
was read by the Dean, the nineteenth psalm being sung to 

94 " TJie good man yields Ids bj'eath." 

the music of Purcell, a former resident in the parish. Sup- 
porting a small group of mourning relatives were the Rt. 
Hon. W. H. Smith, M.P. for Westminster, Archdeacon 
Hessey, Canon Gregory, of St. Paul's, Sir Charles Foster, 
M.P., Mr. J. G. Talbot, M.P., Sir G. Goldney, M.P., Sir 
Edmund and Lady Beckett, the Rev. Professor Wace, Sir 
Henry Hunt, and Mr. ex-Sheriff Burt. The Cathedral 
clergy were represented by Canons Duckworth, Rowsell, 
Barry and Prothero, and a large number of the clergy of 
the Rural Deanery of Westminster, who had assembled in 
the Jerusalem Chamber, were also present. A numerous 
deputation from the United Vestries of St. Margaret and 
St. John the Evangelist attended the service, and the South 
Transept was specially reserved for the parishioners of St. 
John's. Upon the conclusion of the preliminary part of 
the office, the coffin was conveyed by road to Lyne, near 
Chertsey, for interment in the family vault. 

The Church Times, of 30th March, 1883, observed that 
" Archdeacon Jennings was a fervid Evangelical preacher, 
and whilst exhibiting a Welshman's interest in all which 
promised to advance the fortunes of natives of the Princi- 
pality in London, was also much concerned for every enter- 
prise, especially the National Society, which had for its 
object the training of the young in the principles of the 
Established Church." 

The Times, of 28th March, 1883, concluded its obituary 
notice by remarking that " the late Canon, who was the 
patriarch of the Chapter, was a Canon of Westminster 
before the present Dean (Dr. Bradley) had begun the life 
of a Rugby schoolboy." 

If it be true that " man is what he is in secret,'' then the 
testimony to Archdeacon Jennings' sterling character as a 
public man, is completely surpassed by the personal 
knowledge of those who were closely associated with him 
in the sacred duties of his office. In the long course of his 
ministry he was assisted by many diligent earnest clergy 

For the good man never dies.'" 


who, after gaining experience under his judicious guidance, 
proceeded in their turn to preferments in different parts 
of England. Several of these gentlemen have volunteered 
information with respect to their former Rector and his 
parish, thus enabling us to see Archdeacon Jennings as he 
was known to his assistant clergy. As a general repre- 
sentation, the following extract is given from some notes 
kindly forwarded by the Rev. Gustavus Jones, M.A., Vicar 
of Christ Church, Forest Hill, who was one of the curates 
of the parish from 1871 to 1882 : — 

In those days the best work of his Hfe was not doing but done, and 
he looked to his young curates to do what he was too old any longer 
to do himself, and always willing to remunerate them liberally for 
doing. My stipend after a very few years was the very liberal one of 
/200 per annum. To the last the Archdeacon took peculiar interest in 
the Sunday Schools — constantly opening them himself with prayer on 
Sunday mornings at 9.30. Among our teachers in my day were 
Lord and Lady Hatherley, and Mr. W. E. Tomlinson, M.P. The 
Archdeacon always insisted upon at least Iwo curates being present to 
conduct the weekly Wednesday evening services. I mention this to 
show in what high regard he held the services of the Church themselves, 
however poorly attended. 

Special facilities were given to the poor to make known their wants 
to the clergy, it being the custom for one at least of the clergy to 
attend at the crypt of St. John's daily from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to re- 
ceive all applications for relief and notices of sickness. The poor were 
encouraged to be particular as to the baptism of their children by one 
of the clergy attending at the Church from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. every 
Wednesday and Friday evening-. Baptisms were also performed every 
Sunday at 5 p.m. 

The Archdeacon always kept up friendly intercourse with his old 
curates, and he never lost his interest in the five daughter churches — 
St. Stephen, St. Mary, St. James-the-Less, St. Matthew, and Holy 
Trinity — all of which with their Schools owed their origin to his energy 
and ability in carrying through difficult schemes which only a stout 
heart could ever have undertaken at all. Often, he told me, have I 
laid awake at night wondering how I was to meet this liability and that 
in connection with the Churches and Schools in one or other of the 
five daughter parishes ; but to his credit, be it said, every difficulty was 
overcome, and those five district parishes, with the Churches and their 
Schools, carved out of the original parish of St. John, are standing 
monuments, far more substantial than the most imposing efifigy in 
Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's, (i.) to the ability of the Archdeacon 
as an organizer of work and parochial development, and (ii.) to the 

96 " Honour to whom honour.'' 

deep debt of gratitude due to him fiom the teeming population of 
crowded Westminster for increased spiritual opportunities. His treat- 
ment of his curates was always that of a perfect gentleman, and he was 
one of those of whom it has been truly remarked that " the country 
gentleman forms the basis of the character which the Minister of the 
Gospel completes." 

It was his boast that all his curates got preferment, of which truth 
I was the last but not least fortunate illustration. The fact was he 
always availed himself of the earliest opportunity for promoting his 
own curates ; and his letter to me on my own appointment to a living, 
certainly is characteristic, and will, I think, be read with interest by 
many who knew and loved him. 

" My dear Jones, 

The sentiments contained in your letter are grateful to my 
feelings. I am very glad that it has been in my power to secure 
a living for you, as I had always intended to do if I had the oppor- 
tunity. Deeply sensible of your services at St. John's, I devoutly 
pray that in your new and laborious sphere of ministerial respon- 
sibilities and duties, you may be abundantly blessed in your 
mission in bringing souls to that Saviour whose ambassador you 
are. Pray daily more and more for the teachings of The Holy 
Spirit, to enable you to teach those committed to your oversight. 
Never look back, but look upward and forward, strong in the 
Apostolic resolve, " I can do all things through Christ that 
strengtheneth me." May you ever have grace to be diligent and 
faithful in your Master's service, will be the prayer of 

Yours sincerely and affectionately, 


This inadequate tribute to a really good man — to a 
Rector such as the parish had not previously seen — may 
be fitly closed by an extract from one of the Rev. George 
Crabbe's " Letters," published during Archdeacon Jennings' 
early days : — 

" Few now remember when the mild young man, 
Ruddy and fair, his Sunday task began : 
Few live to speak of that soft, soothing look 
He cast around, as he prepared his book ; 
It was a kind of su,pplicating smile, 
But nothing hopeless of applause the while ; 
And when he finish'd, his corrected pride 
Felt the desert, and yet the praise denied. 
Thus he his race began, and to the end 
His constant care was, no man to oiTend. 

" Three Jinn friends." 97 

But let applause be dealt with all we may, 

Our Priest was cheerful, and, in season, gay ; 

His frequent visits seldom failed to please ; 

Easy himself, he sought his neighbours' ease. 

Kind his opinions ; he would not receive 

An ill report, nor evil act believe. 

" If true, 'twas wrong ; but blemish great or small 

" Have all mankind ; yea sinners are we all." 

If ever fretful thought disturbed his breast, 

If aught of gloom that cheerful mind oppressed. 

It sprang from innovation ; it was then 

He spake of mischief made by restless men ; 

Not by new doctrines : never in his life 

Would he attend to controversial strife ; 

For sects he cared not ; " They are not of us, 

" Nor need we, brethren, their concerns discuss ; 

" But 'tis the change, the schism at home I feel ; 

" Ills few perceive, and none have skill to heal." 

Circles in water, as they wider flow 
The less conspicuous in their progress grow ; 
And when at last they touch upon the shore. 
Distinction ceases and they're known no more. 
His love, like that last circle, all embraced. 
And with effect that ne'er can be effaced. 

Now rests our Rector. They who knew him best. 
Proclaim his work to have been greatly blest ; 
Ne'er one so old has left this world of sin. 
More like the being that he enter'd in. 

A portrait of Archdeacon Jennings, from a photograph 
by Horatio N. King, of Goldhawk-road, W., is given on the 
next page. We turn to it with the recollection of Coleridge's 
estimate of that greatness and goodness, those treasures 
and friends which this brief sketch of the Archdeacon's 
career presents to our view : — 

Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends ! 

Hath he not always treasures, always friends. 

The good great man ? three treasures, — love, and light. 

And calm thoughts, regular as infant's breath ; 

And three firm friends, more sure than day and night, — 

Himself, his Maker, and the angel Death. 


" One tJiat feaj-ed God and eschcived evil! 

The present Rector. gg 

7 Vie present Rector, 

Is the eldest son of Charles William Johnson, of Great Tor- 
rington, Devon, Esquire. He was educated at Eton, matri- 
culated from BalHol College, Oxford, 1839, at the age of 
seventeen, graduating B. A. in 1847, and proceeding M.A. in 

1853. He was ordained deacon in 1848 and priest in 
1849 by the Bishop of Oxford. He became curate of 
Clewer, Berks, in 1848 ; lecturer of St. George's Chapel, 
Windsor, and curate of Christ Church, Albany-street. He 
assumed the surname of Furse, in lieu of his patronymic, in 

1854. He was vicar of Staines, Middlesex, 1863- 1873, 
chaplain to the Bishop of Oxford 1870- 1889, and in 1876 
became Principal of Cuddesdon College and vicar and 
Rural Dean of Cuddesdon. He has held an honorary 
canonry in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, since 1873. 
He was installed Canon of Westminster, on 19th June, 
1883, from which date also his institution to the rectory is 
calculated, it being held that the installation to the canonry 
rendered a formal institution to the rectory unnecessary in 
view of the annexation provided for by the Act of 1840. 

Canon Furse married at Bonchurch, Isle of Wight, on 
24th February, 1859, Jane Diana, second daughter of the 
Rev. T. S. B. Monsell, LL.D., vicar of Egham, Surrey. 

Canon Furse is the author of: — 

1. Sermons preached for the most part in the Churches of St. Mary 

and St. Matthias, Richmond, Surrey. Oxford [printed] London, 
1 86 1, 8vo. 

2. The Parish Church and the Parish Priest. London, 1870, i2mo. 

3. Helps to Hohness, or rules of fasting, almsgiving and prayer 

London, 1873. 2nd Ed. 1875, 8vo. 
4 Ritualism; a Paper read before the Clergy of the Rural Deanery, 
of Westminster, etc., pp. 22. London, 1889, 8vo. 

A few words on ' the Rector's rate ' may not be without 
interest in days when, elsewhere in the Metropolis, such 
objection thereto has been taken as to necessitate the 
extreme measure of writs of attachment against the mem- 

G 2 

lOO TJie Rectors Rate. 

bers of a Vestry, for refusal to levy such a rate as required 
by law. From 1742 to 1745 the rate was 6d. in the £. 
In 1747 it was 46. From 1803 to 18 10 it was 2d. It was 
then applied to the maintenance of the fabric of the church, 
a course which was stopped by legal advice. In June, 1752, 
an action of replevin in the King's Bench was brought 
against the Vestry for illegal distraint in enforcing pay- 
ment of the rate ; but in the following October, as the trial 
approached, the plaintiff's solicitor prayed the Vestry to 
stop proceedings upon his payment of all costs incurred 
This request was, of course, acceded to. In 1820 a rate of 
id. in thc;^ was made; in 1845 it was further reduced to 
five-eighths of a penny, then to thirteen-sixteenths, and other 
fractional parts of a penny, until in 1865 the increasing 
rateable value enabled it to be fixed at ^d. in the £, at 
which it continued until Archdeacon Jennings' death. It 
may be added that the present rector, Canon Furse, has, 
without waiving his legal right, not enforced the provisions 
of the Act under which the rate is leviable. 

Mr. Daniel Hipwell, whose very courteous and pains- 
taking assistance in connection with this and the next 
chapter is warmly acknowledged, has kindly contributed 
some additional notes, which have been included in the 
Addenda and Corrin^nda. 

" PerJiaps turn out a sermon." loi 

Chapter IV. 

There stands the messenger of Truth ; there stands 

The legate of the skies ! — His theme divine, 

His office sacred, his credentials clear. 

By him the violated law speaks out 

Its thunders ; and by him, in strains as sweet 

As angels use, the Gospel whispers peace. 


O O far as the registers and the books under the control of 
the Vestry enable them to be traced, the following is a 
complete list of the assistant clergy who have officiated at 
the parish church, the dates prefixed to the names being 
the years in which they first appear in the registers : — 
1728. Thomas Fitzgerald ; was admitted to Westminster 
School, 1710, then aged 15 ; Fellow of Trinity Col- 
lege, Cambridge; B.A., 1717 ; M.A., 1721 ; usher 
of Westminster School ; instituted rector of Wot- 
ton, Surrey, 24th December, 1739, and of Abinger 
nth June, 1743, retaining his lectureship at St. 
John's in conjunction with both these livings. He 
died in 1752. 

1728. Thomas Rowell ; of Trinity College, Cambridge, 

B.A., 1707 ; or Fellow of Corpus Christi College 
Cambridge ; B.A., 1719 ; M.A., 1723 ; B.D., 1731 ; 
lecturer of St. Margaret's, Westminster ; died 3rd 
September, 1737. 

1729. Edward Moore. 

1733. Charles Churchill (Senior). 

At the time the parish was formed there were two families 
of Churchills possessing property in Vine (now Romney) 
street ; and at the first Vestry meeting, held on i ith March, 

io2 The Curates and Lecturers. 

1728, Robert Churchill and Thomas Churchill, apparently 
brothers of Charles Churchill, senior, were present. Thomas 
died in September, 1736, at which time Charles Churchill 
had entered upon his curacy in the parish. He had been 
admitted a pensioner at Trinity College, Cambridge, on 2nd 
March, 1725-6, but did not graduate. He w^as appointed 
Lecturer in 1745, and held both offices in conjunction with 
the rectory of Rainham, Essex. At a Vestry meeting held 
one Sunday — it was not uncommon for the Vestry to meet 
after evening prayers on the Sunday afternoons — Mr. 
Churchill preferred a complaint against Thomas Le Gros, 
the parish clerk, of conduct which " highly reflected on the 
honour of the said Mr. Churchill." The charge was stoutly 
denied, upon which the clerk was called upon to answer a 
second charge " for that he did sett several psalms which 
were sung in church this day, seeming to justify his past 
conduct, and to pervert that part of Divine Service to his 
own wicked purposes." xAs the result of the enquiry into 
this accusation, Le Gros was " by order of the Vestry repri- 
manded by the rector (Dr. Willes, Dean of Lincoln) and 
asked pardon on his knees of the Rev. Mr. Churchill in the 
Vestry-room." After this condonation, the parish records 
are silent concerning Mr. Churchill until, on 20th January, 
1758-9, they tell of his death, which had taken place on 7th 
September, 1758. 

1737. John Whitfield; son of Rev. William Whitfield, 
of Ludgate, London ; admitted to Westminster 
School, 1718 ; Christ Church, Oxford, matriculated 
6th June, 1 722, aged 17; B.A., 1726; M. A., 1728-9; 
Professor of Poetry at Oxford, 1738-41, proctor, 
1739; Rector of Bideford, Devon, 1741 until his 
death in 1783. 

He had great power of writing epigrams, and upon one 
of the most turbulent of his flock, an illiberal and ignorant 
Presbyterian apothecary, with whom it was a point of 

" Some sufficient honest zuitnesses!^ 103 

conscience to oppose the Church of England, he wrote the 
following : — 

Philip of Macedon, 'tis said, 

Had every morning when in bed 

A page, whose salutation ran, 

Remember, Sir, you are a man ! 

So, if we small with great compare 

Our present limping, looby Mayor 

Should every morning, night and all, 

Have C or Jonathan to call 

(While each an ear did gently pull) 

Remember, Sir, you are a fool ! 

1738. Peter Durand. 

1745. J Butler. 

1746. Charles Cheriton ; admitted to Westminster 

School, 1735 ; Trinity College, Cambridge, B.A., 
1742 ; Chaplain of the Captain, 1744. 

1748. Henry Eaton ; St. John's College, Cambridge' 

B.A., 1718. 

1749. John Howell. (See Addenda and Corrigenda.) 
1758. George Davis, M.A. 

1758. Thomas Atwood; son of the Rev. George Atwood, 
of Taunton, Somerset ; St. Mary Hall, Oxford, 
matriculated 14th November, 1738, aged 16; B.A., 
1742; curate and lecturer of St. Margaret's ; Vicar 
of South Mimms, 1770; died 4th December, 1770. 

1758. Edward Smallwell ; son of John Smallwell, of 
Westminster, gentleman ; Christ Church, Oxford, 
matriculated 22nd June, 1739, aged 18 ; B.A., 1743; 
M.A., 1746-7; B.D., 1755; D.D., 1775; Bishop of 
St. David's, 1783-8 ; Bishop of Oxford, 1788 until 
his death on the 26th June, 1799. He bequeathed 
;^i,ooo to Westminster School, where he was 
educated, and £2,000 to Christ Church, Oxford. 

1758. Samuel Evans; son of Rev. John Evans, of Caer- 
marthen ; Queen's College, Oxford, matriculated 
26th February, 1754, aged 18 ; died February, 1768. 

1758. Charles Churchill, (Junior); was born in Vine- 

t04 The Curates and Lecturers. 

street, in February, 1731, and sent, at eight years of age, to 
Westminster School, where he was 'admitted' in 1745, 
being " specially designed " for his father's sacred profes- 
sion, as the son afterwards expressed it : — 

" Bred for the Church, and for the gown decreed, 
Ere it was known that I should learn to read." 

At school his premature growth and fulness, both of body 
and mind, soon attracted the attention of masters and boys, 
among the latter of whom were several who showed re- 
markable literary taste and strong inclination to 'verse 
writing ' or to yield to ' the rage of the day,' as the cultiva- 
tion of such tastes was then regarded. When he was fifteen 
years of age an opportunity presented itself for the display 
of his precocity by the imposition of a poetical declamation 
in Latin by way of punishment for some breach of school 
discipline. He accomplished his task in such a masterly 
manner as to astonish his masters and delight his school- 
fellows. Hutton's Literary Landmarks of London (1885), 
quoting Gilfillan's Life of CJiurcJiill, gives this sketch of 
the incident : — 

" We can fancy the scene at the day of recitation, — the grave and 
big-wigged schoolmasters looking grimly on, their aspect, however, 
becoming softer and brighter, as one large hexameter rolls out after 
another ; the strong, awkward, ugly boy unblushingly pouring forth 
his energetic lines, cheered by the sight of the relaxing gravity of his 
teachers' looks ; while around you see the bashful, tremulous figure 
of poor Cowper, the small, thin shape and bright eye of Warren 
Hastings, and the waggish countenance of Colman [the elder], all 
eagerly watching the recital, and all at last distended and brightened 
with joy at his signal triumph." 

In competition as a candidate for the foundation the lad 
went in at the head of the list ; but on standing for a 
studentship at Merton College, Oxford, three years later, 
he failed. A variety of causes have been assigned for this 
failure, but no one of his critics has been able to conceal his 
marriage, at this early age, with a Westminster girl named 
Scott, effected in 1748 through the scandalous facilities of 
the Fleet. The interval between his rejection and his 

CJuircJiill, tJie satirist. 105 

ordination (for which he was able to quahfy without a 
degree), was spent partly at his father's house and partly 
at Sunderland. In 1753, being then twenty-two years old, 
he returned to London for a time. He took deacon's 
orders in the same year, went again for a short time to the 
north, and thence removed to South Cadbury, in Somerset- 
shire, where his father's influence had obtained for him the 
curacy. Here he stayed nearly three years, until, being or- 
dained priest in 1756, he passed to his father's curacy at Rain- 
ham. "His behaviour," says Dr. Kippis, writing in BiogvapJiia 
Britannica, " gained him the love and esteem of his 
parishioners ; . . . What chiefly disturbed him was 
the smallness of his income." On 7th September, 1758, 
Churchill's father died, and the parishioners of St. John's, 
out of respect to the father, secured the appointment of the 
son to the curacy and lectureship. His return to West- 
minster revived his former temptations, so that he soon 
found himself in the midst of embarrassment, with his 
pride humbled, his credit gone, and the support of good 
counsellors withdrawn. In this extremity he forsook his 
wife and abandoned his profession, the latter step being 
hastened, in all probability, by remonstrances from his 
parishioners upon his having exchanged the distinctive 
clerical attire for a blue coat with metal buttons, a gold- 
laced waistcoat, and a gold-laced hat, and ruffles. 

His letter of resignation was as follows : — 

Sir. — I take this opportunity of acquainting you with my inten- 
tion of quitting the Lectureship of St. John's, which I should be 
glad if you would, with the first convenience, communicate to the 
Gentlemen of the Vestry. 

As my stay here is very uncertain, the sooner the vacancy is fih'd 
up the more convenient it wiU be to me. If you will be so kind 
to let me know when the Vestry meets, I shall take that oppor- 
tunity of paying my respects to them in person, if possible ; if not, 
by letter. 

I am. 

Your very humble ser\ant, 
January the 4th, 176J. CHARLES CHURCHILL. 

fo6 Tlic Curates and Lectwev^. 

On loth January, 1763, he wrote to the Vestry: — 

Your unanimous appointment of me to the Lectureship of 
St. John's on the death of my Father, and the continuance of your 
favours since that time, demand my warmest acknowledgements 
and sincerest thanks. These I should have been happy to have 
made in person had I not been unexpectedly prevented, but shall 
take this opportunity of declaring with what a grateful sense I 
recognise the favours of the whole parish in general, and of the 
gentlemen of the Vestry in particular, and how much, although 
removed from them, I shall ever esteem their favours, and remain 
their much obliged and very humble servant, 

/X4y&</ //u^vtXc-^^ 

A tutorship which he had obtained in a young ladies' 
seminary, at Queen-square, Blooinsbury, with a view to 
augment his income, was also relinquished, while the Beef- 
steak Club, into which he had been received on the nomi- 
nation of John Wilkes, disgusted at his treatment of his 
wife, and at his relations with a Miss Carr, the daughter of 
a respectable sculptor, of Westminster, whom he had 
seduced, forced him to resign his membership. 

By this time he had given himself almost exclusively to 
the production of satirical verse for which, however, he was 
unable, at first to find a place in the market, and in which, 
too, he narrowly escaped a prosecution for libel contained 
in The Conclave^ a satire aimed at the Dean and Chapter 
of Westminster. After two months' close attendance at 
the theatres, he wrote his Rosciad ; and, undaunted by 
continued refusals by the booksellers, took the risk of 
printing and publishing it. In this he made such ' a pal- 
pable hit,' that its pungency and humour, and its rude free 
daring were the talk of every London coffee-house within 
a few days of its appearance. The success in a pecuniary 
sense was no less ; " the pulpit had starved him on forty 
pounds a year ; the public had given him a thousand 
pounds in two months," Every man of whom he had 

ChurcJiill^ the satirist. io/ 

borrowed was now repaid with interest, and his creditors, 
with whom he had compromised at five shillings in the 
pound a short time previously, were now surprised to 
receive the remaining fifteen shillings. With his name thus 
established, he sold ten of his sermons preached in St. 
John's for ;!^2 50. The success of his following publica- 
tions was marred by his active association with the 
notorious John Wilkes ; yet amongst those who did not 
concern themselves with the private morals of public men, 
he became a popular man. Meanwhile his private life went 
on in all its dissipation, until a sudden desire to see Wilkes 
took him hastily to Boulogne on the 22nd October, 1764. 
Here, within a week, he was overtaken by a fever which 
baffled the skill of the physicians for a few da)^s, and proved 
fatal on 4th November, he being then in his thirty-third year. 
By his will he left an annuity of £60 to his wife, another 
annuity of ^^50 to the girl who had lived under his pro- 
tection, and he made provision for his two boys. In 
accordance with his wish his body was brought to England 
and laid in the old churchyard which once belonged to the 
collegiate church of St. Martin at Dover — 

" So may he rest : 

His faults lie gently on him I " 

"Henky VIII." 

Boswell mentions that Johnson "talked very contempt- 
uouslyof Churchiirspoetry,observing that it had a temporary 
currency only from its audacity of abuse, and being 
filled with living names, and that it would sink into 
oblivion. I ventured to hint (writes Boswell) that he was 
not quite a fair judge, as Churchill had attacked him 
violently." Johnson: "Nay, sir, I am a very fair judge. He 
did not attack me violently till he found I did not like his 
poetry ; and his attack on me shall not prevent me from 
continuing to say what I think of him, from an apprehen- 
sion that it may be ascr^Ded to resentment. No, sir, I 
called the fellow a blockhead at first, and I will call him a 

lo8 The Curates and Lecturers. 

blockhead still. However, I will acknowledge that I have 
a better opinion of him now than I once had ; for he has 
shown more fertility than I expected. To be sure, he is a 
tree that cannot produce good fruit: he only bears crabs. 
But, sir, a tree that produces a great many crabs is better 
than a tree which produces only a few." 

In a sermon preached at the Church on i8th December, 
1 88 1, by the Rev. William Benham, B.D., then vicar of 
Marden, formerly assistant master of the Bluecoat School, 
and now rector of St. Edmund the King, with St. Nicholas 
Aeons, London, and Hon. Canon of Canterbury, he re- 
marked : — 

I might linger still over the records of this church, over the days 
when Charles Churchill was its minister, profligate of life, violent in 
his animosities, bitter in his satires. Think what a contrast, for 
example, between those times and these. He is conducting a funeral 
in the Horseferry Road burying-ground, is jeered at by a bystander 
who has seen him at his orgies the night before, throws off his surplice 
and fights him then and there in the street, and beats him. Yet not 
all bad. His own conscience bade him, at least, presently give up his 
sacred functions. And when his political friends came into power, and 
he might have received some rich preferment, the same conscience 
was strong enough to keep him from the wickedness of putting on his 
surplice and gown again. He would not so prostitute the ministry of 
God ; a faithful reflex of some good in ungodly and profligate times. 

The late Rev. Joseph Maskell, master and chaplain ot 
Emanuel Hospital, in his Westminster in relation to Litera- 
ture (1880) thus refers to Churchill : — 

His life affords a melancholy instance of an utterly mistaken voca- 
tion. He would seem to have been forced by his family into a pro- 
fession for which he had no love, and for which he was in every way 
unfit. He succeeded his father as curate of St. John's, and for some 
time observed the outward duties of his calling with decorum, acquiring 
considerable reputation as a preacher. He married, and took to 
literature in order to increase his limited income. His vein was satire, 
a kind of writing which, in the hands of a sincere and generous- 
minded man, anxious for the benefit of his fellows, and no misanthrope, 
has always been productive of great public good. Popular abuses, 
evil nianners and customs, are more likely to be amended by means 
of skilfully directed satire than in any other way. But satire which 
is inspired by a sense of personal injustice and the envy of others is 
an unworthy and purposeless weapon. A good deal of Churchill's 
satire is of this character. He offended his much-enduring parishioners, 
his bishop, and patrons, by conduct utterly unbecoming, I will not 

CJiurcJiill, the satirist. 


merely say the clerical., but the Christian profession ; for the Christian 
layman has no right to a standard of morals lower than that of the 
clergyman ! But Churchill had no sense of decency ; after staining 
his cloth with every vice, he turned round to attack his clerical 
brethren and others in satire, devoting the rest of his life to a bitter 
and remorseless ridicule of his fellow-men. The Dean and Chapter 
of Westminster, Dr. Johnson, and Bishop Warburton, were his pet 
aversions. It is impossible to read Churchill's poetry without feeling 
that he had considerable genius, and that he might have done better 
even as a satirist if he had written less, and with less personal 
animosity. But he wrote for bread ; his pen was always obliged to be 
in his hand, and his satire trenchant and forcible, in order to attract 
attention. He was popular in his day, and will probably never entirely 
ose his place in literature. It is sad, hovever, to think of fine talents 
misapplied, and golden opportunities thrown away. 

The Rev. George Gilfillan, in his Life of CJuircJiill, asserts 
that " in him we find a signal specimen of a considerable 
class of writers concerning whom Goldsmith's words are 
true : — 

'Who born for the universe, narrow'd their mind, 
And to party gave up what was meant for mankind.' 

" We must approach his grave as men do those of Burns 
and Byron, with sorrow, wonder, admiration and blame, 
blended into one strange, complex, and yet not unnatural 
emotion. Robust manhood, honesty, and hatred of pre- 
tence we admit him to have possessed ; but of genuine love 
to humanity he seems to have been as destitute as of fear 
of God or regard for the ordinary moralities." 

" In taking leave of him we are again haunted by the 
signal resemblance he bears, both in mental character and 
in history, to Byron. Both were powerful in satire, and 
still more so in purely poetic composition. Both were 
irregular in life and unfortunate in marriage. Both assumed 
an attitude of defiance to the world and stood ostentatiously 
at bay. Both felt and expressed keen remorse for their 
errors, and purposed, and in part began, reformation. \\o\\\ 
died at an untimely age, by fever, and in a foreign land. 
The dust of both, not admitted into Westminster Abbey, 
nevertheless reposes in their native soil, and attracts daily 

I lo Tlic Curates and Lecturers. 

visitors who lean and weep and wonder over it — partly in 
sympathy with their fate — partly in pity for their errors — 
and partly in admiration for their genius." 

Churchill's connection with St. John's had enabled him 
to obtain an insight into parochial life and administration, 
which he thus unsparingly satirised in his GJiost (Book 
IV.) :- 

" Constables, whom the laws admit 

To keep the peace by breaking' it ; 

Beadles, who hold the second place, 

By virtue of a silver mace, 

Which every Saturday is drawn, 

Yox use of Sunday, out of pawn ; 

Treasurers, who with empty key 

Secure an empty treasury ; 

Churchwardens, who their course pursue 

In the same state, as to their pew 

Churchwardens of St. Margaret's go. 

Since Peirson * taught them pride and show ; 

Who in short transient pomp appear 

Like almanacks, changed every year ; 

Behind whom, with unbroken locks. 

Charity carries the poor's box, 

Not knowing that with private keys 

They ope and shut it when they please ; 

Overseers, who by frauds ensure 

The heavy curses of the poor ; 

Unclean come flocking, bulls and bears, 

Like beasts into the ark, by pairs." 

In his dedication to Dr. Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester, 

to which allusion has already been made, Churchill refers 

to the congregation of St. John's: — 

" Much did I wish, e'en whilst I kept those sheep 
Which, for my curse, I was ordain'd to keep, 
Ordain'd alas ! to keep through need, not choice. 
Those sheep which never heard their shepherd's voice ; 
Which did not know, yet would not learn their way : 
Which stray'd themselves, yet grieved that I should stray ; 

* Samuel Peirson was Churchwarden of St. Margaret's, 1749-53, i'^ which 
period a prosecution was brought against him and his colleague for suffering 
the painted window to be placed at the east end of St. Margaret's Church. 
The trial ended in favour of the parish, in commemoration of which Mr. 
Peirson gave a large cup and cover in silver guilt, weighing 93 oz. 15 dwt, now 
known as " the Churchwardens' Loving Cup." 


Churchill^ the satirist. 1 1 1 

Those sheep which my good father (on his bier 
Let filial duty drop the pious tear) 
Kept well, yet starved himself ; e'en at that time 
Whilst I was pure and innocent of rhyme ; 
Whilst, sacred dulness ever in niy view. 
Sleep at my bidding crept from pew to pew, 
Much did I wish, though little could I hope, 
A friend in him who was the friend of Pope." 

Nearly twenty years after Churchill's death, his delicate 
school-fellow at Westminster, Cowper, pourtrayed him in 
Table Talk in the following lines, with which this fragment 
must close : — 

" Contemporaries all surpass'd, see one ; 

Short his career indeed, but ably run ; 

Churchill, himself unconscious of his powers, 

In penury consumed his idle hours ; 

And, like a scattered seed at random sown. 

Was left to spring by vigour of his own. 

Lifted at length, by dignity of thought 

And dint of genius, to an affluent lot. 

He laid his head in luxury's soft lap, 

And took too often there his easy nap. 

If brighter beams than all he threw not forth, 

'Twas negligence in him, not want of worth. 

Surly and slovenly, and bold and coarse. 

Too proud for art, and trusting in mere force. 

Spendthrift alike of money and of wit, 

Always at speed, and never drawing bit. 

He struck the lyre in such a careless mood. 

And so disdain'd the rules he understood, 

The laurel seem'd to wait on his command ; 

He snatched it rudely from the muses' hand." 
1762. Joshua Kyte ; son of William Kyte, of Shireborn, 
Gloucestershire, gentleman ; admitted to Westmins- 
ter School, 1739 (see p. 32J; Christ Church, Oxford, 
matriculated ist June, 1743, aged 18 ; B.A., 1747 ; 
M.A., 1751 ; B.D. and D.D., 1765 ; usher of 
min.ster School, 1751-64 ; rector of Wendlcbury, 
Oxfordshire, 1764, and of Swynecombe, 1787, until 
his death at Cheltenham, 28th November, 1788.* 

* Welch's Alumni Westmonasterienses, ed. Phillimore, 1852, p. 328, er- 
roneously states that Dr. Kyte was Redor of St. John, Westminster, 1758. 

1 1 2 TJie Curates and Lectures. 

1762. Talbot Keene ; Trinity College, Cambridge, B.A., 
1761 ; M.A., 1770; vicar of Brigstock, Northamp- 
tonshire, 1773; rector of Tadmerton, Oxfordshire, 
1788. He died at Limehouse in June, 1824, aged 
89 years. 

1762. Vincent Hotchkiss ; son of Rev. Thomas Hotch- 
kiss, of Montsley, Salop ; Balliol College, Oxford, 
matriculated 20th April, 1722, aged 16; B.A., 1726. 

1767. Thomas Bennett; admitted to Westminster School 
1758, aged 14; Trinity College, Cambridge, B. A., 
1766; M.A., 1769; D.D., 1801 ; minor canon of 
Westminster, 1782, and of St. Paul's, 1783 ; vicar 
of High and Good Easter, and of Tillingham, 
Essex, 1797; Minister of Highgate Chapel, Middle- 
sex, for many years ; published " Twelve Lec- 
tures on the Apostles' Creed, delivered in the 
Church of St. John the Evangelist, Westminster," 
London, 1775, 8vo. He died at Highgate 24th 
August, 1 8 16, in his 74th year, and was buried in 
the Old Chapel there. 

1769. Augustus Montague Totladv ; born at Farnham, 
Surrey, 1740 ; educated at Westminster School ; 
B.A., Trinity College, Dublin, 1760 ; vicar of 
Broad Hembury, Devonshire ; celebrated in his 
time as a Calvinistic divine, and an acute disputant, 
and honoured to the present day throughout the 
Christian Church as the author of " Rock of 
Ages." He died i ith August, 1778, and was buded 
at Whitefield's Tabernacle, in the Tottenham- 

1774. William M. Pow. 

1775. Charles Manning ; of Caius College, Cam-bridge, 

B.A., 1735 ; incorporated at Oxford, i6th April, 
1775. Giles Powell ; of Trinity College, Dublin, B.A., 
1761 ; rector of Acrisc, Kent, for the space of 40 

" TJiey may pass for excellent men." 1 1 3 

years. He died suddenly in Northamptonshire in 
October, 1825, in his 88th year. 

1776. J DOWNES. 

1776. John Hiscox. Died at Dartford, Kent, 17th 
February, 1789. 

1789. Christopher Scott ; of Queen's College, Cam- 
bridge, B.x\., 1761 ; M.A., 1764. 

1802. Richard Glover; of St. John's College, Cambridge, 
B.A., 1767, M. A., 1 771; instituted to the vicarage 
of Dagenham, Essex, 13th June, 1811. Died at 
Ilford, June, 1824. 

1805. William Davis, B. A. {Sqq corrigenda). 

1805. Thomas Longlands ; of Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge; B.A., 1801; M.A., 1804; vicar of Porchester, 
Hants, 1806 ; Vicar of Great Camfield, Essex, 18 10; 
vicar of Damerham, Wilts, 1822 ; died 1856. 

1 8 10. D'Arcy Haggitt ; Fellow of Peterhouse, Cam- 
bridge; B.A., 1796; M.A., 1800; instituted to the 
vicarage of Pershore, St. Andrew, Worcestershire, 
loth May, 1825; died at Bruges, 1850. 

1810. Johnson Atkinson Busfield; of Clare College, 
Cambridge; B.A., 1796; M.A., 1800; D.D., 1812 ; 
instituted to the rectory of St. Michael, Wood- 
street, London, 4th May, 1821 ; died 1849, aged 7^. 

1 8 17. Charles Wodsworth ; of Pembroke College, 

Cambridge, B. A. 1 8 14; M.A., 1817; rector of In- 
goldesthorpe, Norfolk, 1826; prebendary of Port- 
pool in St. Paul's Cathedral, 1828; vicar of Hard- 
ingstone, Northamptonshire, 1834; vicar of Audlcy, 
Staffordshire, 1842, and chaplain to Viscount 
Palmerston. Mr. Wodsworth died 28th March, 

1 818. William Johnson. Two contemporary clergymen 

of this name have been traced — the first of St. 
John's College, Cambridge, B.A., 1791 ; the second 


1 14 TJie Curates and Lecturers. 

of St. Alban Hall, Oxford, B.A., 1803 ; M.A., 1821 ; 
instituted to the rectory of St. Clement, Eastcheap, 
19th October, 1820; vicar of Mottram, Cheshire, 
1826. Died 2nd December, 1840, aged 72. No 
reliable information is obtainable as to which of 
these two gentlemen held the curacy of St. John's. 

1818. William Johnson Rodber ; curate of St. Mar- 

garet's ; rector of St. Mary-at-Hill, London, 7th 
October, 1825 ; died 1843, aged 53. 

1 8 19. George Stokes; of Trinity Hall, Cambridge; 

LL.B., 181 2; Vicar-General to the Bishop of 
Killala. Died, July, 1833. (This gentleman and 
his immediate predecessor severally signed the 
Registers as " Officiating Minister "). 

1825. Joshua Nussev ; of St. Catharine's College, Cam- 
bridge; B.A., 1822; M.A., 1825 ; instituted to the 
rectory of Poughill, Devonshire, 22nd March, 1837; 
vicar of Oundle, Northamptonshire, 1845. 

183L Henry Atcheson ; of Jesus College, Cambridge; 
M.B., 1823; M.L., 1825; ordained deacon, 1828, 
priest, 1830 ; instituted to the vicarage of Kings- 
bury, Middlesex, 20th December, 1833. 

1832. Jenkin Hughes; fourth son of— Hughes of 
Lledrod, Cardiganshire, gentleman ; of Jesus 
College, Oxford, matriculated 24th June, 1824, 
aged 22; B.A., 1828; M.A., 1831 ; master of 
Abergavenny Grammar School, 1828-32 ; vicar of 
Alconbury, Hunts, 1838, until his death on the 
23rd April, 1870. 

1835. Philip Parker Gilbert ; of Magdalene College, 
Cambridge; B.A., 1835; M.A., 1839; ordained 
deacon, 1835, and priest, 1837, by the Bishop of 
Gloucester and Bristol ; vicar of St. Mary's, Hag- 
gerston ; rector of St. Augustine with St. Faith, 
London, 1853-7 ; vicar of St. Giles, Cripplegate, 

" JV/io, earnest in the service of their God." 1 1 5 

1837. Henry Lloyd Oswell; third son of Rev. Thomas 

Oswell, of Westbury, Salop ; of Christ Church, 
Oxford, matriculated loth November, 183 1, aged 
18 ; B.A., 1835 ; M.A, 1838 ; incumbent of Stoul- 
ton, Worcestershire, 1843-51 ; vicar of Leighton, 
Salop, 185 1-9 ; incumbent of Bobbington, Stafford- 
shire and Salop, 1859-62 ; vicar of St. George's, 
Shrewsbury, 1866-72 ; rector of Llandinabo, Here- 
fordshire, 1872-88 ; living 1892. 

1838. Thomas Stone ; of St. John's College, Cambridge ; 

B.A., 1829 ; M.A., 1834 ; admitted ad eundeni at 
Oxford 26th January, 1837; curate of Felstead, 
Essex. Died 12th March, 1850. 

1839. Abraham Borradaile ; eldest son of Abraham 

Borradaile, of Clapham ; of Christ Church, Oxford ; 
matriculated 25th October, 1832, aged 18 ; B.A., 
1836 ; M.A., 1839; vicar of St. Mary's, Tothill- 
fields, 1 84 1, until his death on 30th January, 1873. 

1839. George France ; second son of William Beckwith 

France, of Hammersmith ; of Exeter College, Ox- 
ford ; matriculated 23rd January, 1834, aged 18; 
B.A., 1837 ; M.A., 1840 ; rector and patron of 
Brockdish, Norfolk, 1842; living 1892. 

1840. William Tennant ; of Trinity College, Cambridge; 

B.A., 1836; M.A., 1839; first vicar of St. Stephen's, 
Westminster, 1847, until his death in 1880. 

1840. Frederick Style; second son of Thomas Style, 
of Thames Ditton ; of St. John's College, Oxford ; 
matriculated 30th April, 1834, aged 18 ; B.A., 1838 ; 
M.A., 1 841 ; Head-master of Thames Ditton 
School ; vicar of Leigh, Surrey, 1878, until his 
death on 2nd January, 1884. 

1840. James Bandinel ; only son of James Bandinel, of 
Chelsea ; of Wadham College, Oxford; matriculated 
30th March, 1833, aged 18; B.A., 1836; M.A. 

H 2 

1 1 6 Tlie Curates and Lecturers. 

1844; vicar of Cogges, Oxford, 1856-62; rector 
of Elmlcy (or Emly), Yorkshire, 1863-81 ; living 

1843. Henry Stretton ; eldest son of Henry Stretton, 
of St. Luke's, Middlesex, gentleman ; of Magdalen 
College, Oxford ; matriculated 24th April, 1839, 
aged 24 ; B.A., 1843 ; M.A., 1846 ; Head-master 
of St. Alban's Grammar School, 1866-70; vicar of 
Eastville, Lincolnshire, 1876 ; joint author with the 
Rev. Sir W. H. Cope, Bart., of Visitatio Lifirnioruui 
' Offices for the Clergy,' etc., 3 editions, 1848. 

1843. William Jephson ; of Corpus Christi College, Cam- 
bridge; B.A., 1 841 ; M.A., 1847 ; rector of Hinton- 
Waldrist, Berkshire, 1853-80; Diocesan inspector 
of schools. Diocese of Oxford, 1856-76 ; Rural 
Dean of Vale of White Horse, 1876-7 ; chaplain at 
Geneva, 1877-81 ; living 1892. 

1846. James Langton Wiglesworth ; of Magdalene 

College, Cambridge; B.A., 1846; M.A., 1850; 
curate of Hanslope-with-Castlethorpe, Bucking- 
hamshire, 1869. 

1847. Charles Felton Smith; of Queen's College, 

Cambridge; B.A., 1839; M.A., 1854; domestic 
Chaplain to Viscount Combermere, 1840; incum- 
bent of St. John's, Pendlebury, 1843 ; vicar of 
Crediton, Devon, 1854 ; prebendary of Exeter, 
1856 ; living 1892. 

1849. Alfred Jones ; of King's College, London ; Theo- 
logical Associate, 1849; created B.D. by Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, 1877; chaplain of Aske's 
Hospital, 1854-74 ; secretary of the Sunday Rest 
Association, 1860-76; vicar of Carrington, Cheshire, 

1849. William Henry Davies ; chaplain of St. George's 
Hospital, 1859, (See corrigenda^ 

''All agreeing in earnestness!' ny 

1-849. John Back ; second son of John Back, of St. Giles, 
Cripplegate ; of Trinity College, Oxford ; matricu- 
lated 19th May, 184s, aged 18; B.A., 1849; M.A., 
1852 ; rector of St. George-the-Martyr, Blooms- 
bury, 1858-77; vicar of Horsell, Surrey, 1878-84. 
Died in August, 1891, and was buried at Horsell. 

1853. Laurence William Till; eldest son of Richard 

Till, of Clapham, gentleman ; of Pembroke College, 
Oxford ; matriculated i6th November, 1848, aged 
20; B.A., 1852; M.A., 1856; vicar of Chertsey, 
1857-73; and of St. Paul's, East Moulsey, 1873, 
until his death, 6th October, 1878. 

1854. Henry Edmund Phillips; vicar of Christ Church, 

Leeds, 1859; died 15th June, 1859, aged 28. 

1854. V/lLLIAM Henry Turle. (See "St. Matthew's, 
Great Peter-street," Chapter VHI.) 

1859. Henry Warwick Hunt ; of Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge ; B.A., 1858; M.A., 1861 ; curate of St. 
Anne's, Soho ; rector of Steppingley, Bedfordshire, 
1 869-70-; now, and since 1872, rector of Sherman- 
bury, Sussex. 

1865. George Miller. (See " Holy Trinity, Bessborough 

Gardens," Chapter VHI.) 

1866. Arthur George Warner; second son of George 

Warner, of Hornsey ; of Christ Church, Oxford ; 

matriculated 3rd June, 1857, aged 19; B.A., 1861 ; 

M.A., 1865; vicar of St. Mary's, Tothill-fields, 

1873-87 ; now, and since 1887, rector of St. Mary- 

le-Bow, Cheapside. 
1871. Henry Hugh Beams Paull; eldest son of Henry 

Andrew Paull, of Doctors' Commons ; of Magdalen 

Hall, Oxford; matriculated loth May, 1845, 

aged 25. 
1 87 1. GusTAVus John Jones ; of St. John's College, 

Cambridge; B.A., 1871 ; M.A., 1874; now, and 

since 1882, vicar of Christ Church, Forest Hill. 


1 1 8 TJic Curates and Lecturers 

1873. Henry Dealtry Thomas; eldest son of the Rev. 
Henry Thomas, of Calcutta ; of Wadham College, 
Oxford; matriculated 13th October, 1866, aged 19; 
B.A., 1870; M.A., 1873; vicar of Longdon, Wor- 
cestershire, 1885. 

1881. Frank Charles Jarvis (now Arnold-Jarvis) ; 

of Trinity College, Dublin ; B.A., 1880; M.A, 1883; 
curate of Ealing, 1883-6; of Petersham, 1886-91 ; 
and since 1891 of Worlabye, Lincoln. 

1882. CHy\RLES Reeve Taylor of Corpus Christi College, 

Cambridge; B.A. and LL.B., 1868; M.A., 1872; 
curate of St. Peter's, Berkhampstead, 1869-71 ; of 
Southwell, 1874-5 ; of Christ Church, Ealing, 
1875-7 ; St. Luke, Kentish Town, 1878-9 ; acting- 
chaplain to the Forces, at Aldershot, 1879-80; 
St. Saviour, Hoxton, 1880-81 ; lecturer in Public 
Reading and Speaking, King's College, since 1887. 

1883. J H Franklyn. 

1883. Howard Gurney Daniell-Bainbridge; third 
son of Richard Percival Daniell, of London; of 
Trinity College, Oxford; matriculated i8th October, 
1875, aged 17; B.A., 1878; M A., 1882 ; of Cuddes- 
don Theological College, 1879; curate of Shepton- 
Beauchamp, Somerset, 1880-83; now, and since 1890, 
Minor Canon and Sacrist of Westminster Abbey. 

1883. Henry Maitland Ellis; second son of Rev. 
Phillip Constable Ellis, of Penmon, Anglesey; of 
Worcester College, Oxford; matriculated 15th 
October, 1878, aged 18; B.A., 1881; M.A., 1885; 
curate of Moordown, Hampshire, 1885-7, ^"d since 
1887 curate of Beaulieu, Hampshire. 

1883. Edmund George Lionel Mowbray; third son 
of Sir John Robert Mowbray, Bart., of Mortimer, 
Berkshire; of New College, Oxford; matriculated 
nth October, 1878, aged 19; B.A.. 1882; M.A., 
1885; curate of St. Bartholomew, Dover, 1887-90; 

now, and since 1 890, rector of Durley, Hampshire. 


" To knozt', to esteem — and then to part." 1 19 

1884. George Herbert Dawson Davies; of Jesus 
College, Cambridge, and Cuddesdon Theological 
College; curate of All Saints, Shrewsbury, 1882-4, 
of the Holy Redeemer, Clerkenwell, 1886-8, and of 
Kelsale, Suffolk, 1888. 

1885. -Ernest Austin Hammick ; fifth son of Rev. Sir 
Vincent Love Hammick, Bart., of Milton Abbott, 
Devonshire; of Exeter College, Oxford; matriculated 
• i8th May, 1869, aged 19; B.A., 1873; M.A., 1876; 
rector of Forrabury and of Minster, Cornwall, 
1877-85; archdeacon of Zululand, 1886-9; living, 

1886. George Napier ; seventh son of Rev. Charles Walter 

Albyn Napier, rector of Wiston, Sussex ; of St. Mary's 
Hall, Oxford; matriculated 7th February, 1878, aged 
18; B.A., 1881; M.A., 1889; curate of St. John, 
Truro, 1882-5, and of St. Mary, Truro, 1885-6; now 
vicar designate of St. Mary's, Tothill-fields. 

1887. Bernard Wilkinson; second son of Rev. John 

Bourdieu Wilkinson, of Westminster ; of Lincoln 
College, Oxford, matriculated 29th January, 1879, 
aged 18 ; B.A., 1882 ; M.A., 1887. 

1888. John Primatt Maud, Junr. ; son of Rev. John 

Primatt Maud, Vicar of Ancaster, Lincolnshire ; of 
Keble College, Oxford ; matriculated 14th October, 
1879, aged 19; B.A., 1883; M.A., 1887; vicar of 
Chapel Allerton, Yorkshire, since 1890. 

1890. Francis Robinson Phelps; eldest son of Rev. 

Joseph Francis Phelps, of Newfoundland ; of Keble 
College, Oxford ; matriculated i8th December, 
1882, aged 19; B.A., 1886; M.A., 1889; curate of 
St. Philip's, Battersea, 1887-90. 

1 89 1. Henry Eden Olivier ; third son of Rev. Dacres 

Olivier, rector of Wilton, Wilts ; of New College, 
Oxford; matriculated i6th January, 1887, aged 18 ; 
B.A., 1889. 

126 TJic Burial Ground. 

Chapter V. 


Let's talk of graves, and worms, and epitaphs." 

" Richard II. 

' Who hath :iot loitered in a green churchyard, 
And let his spirit like a demon-mole, 
Work through the clayey soil and gravel hard. 

To see skull, coffined bones, and funeral stole ; 
Pitying each form that hungry Death hath marred, 
And filling it once more with human soul ?" 


Purchase of Site. — Fees. — Torchlight funerals. — Overcrowded con 
dition. — Proposed enlargement. — Ground raised. — Enlargement. — 
Closed by Order in Council. — Claims by the Rectors. — " Body- 
snatching." — Conversion of the ground into a Public Garden. — 
Burial Registers. — Longevity. 

T MMEDIATELY after the Church had been opened for . 
public worship, the Vestry appointed a Committee 
" to consider several pieces of ground offered as proper for 
cemeteries." Their report, presented to the. Vestry in 
April, 1729, recommended a site in Wood-street, with a 
passage into North-street, the property of Mr. Henry 
Smith, from whom the site of the Church had been pur- 
chased. Without further communication with the Vestry, 
the Commissioners acquired a small plot of ground in the 
Horseferry-road, which was in due course laid out, though 
it was not enclosed for more than twenty years afterwards. 
In July, 1 73 1, the Vestry petitioned the Dean and Chapter 
" to get the burying ground consecrated," and to approve of 
a table of fees proposed to be charged. The ceremony was 
performed on 29th July by Dr. Wilcocks, Dean of West- 
minster and Bishop of Gloucester, who was translated to 
Rochester the same year. The apparitor's bill of fees and 
costs incidental to the occasion amounted to i^i6 \os. 2d. 

Funereal customs of last century. \ 2 1 

In the first list of fees an extra charge of five shilhngs 
was prescribed for all interments after ten o'clock at night. 
Subsequently (in 1748) this extra fee was imposed upon 
funerals taking place after nine o'clock. Orders were also 
passed prohibiting interments after midnight, and direct- 
ing that mourners' lights should not be taken into the 
church. These were the days in which the custom of lying 
in state and burial by torchlight was general among the 
well-to-do. The bodies of merchants and tradesmen were 
laid among black velvet hangings, with wax candles around 
the coffin, and the houses were left open for the admission 
of the neighbours to the chamber of death. Besides the 
" searchers," who were appointed by the parish authorities 
to see that the body bore no marks of foul play, " the 
plumper " was called in " to bedizen the body,"!' and to make 
what the ladies used to call 'a charming corpse.'" Torchlight 
funerals, to which Pope refers in the well known lines: — 

When Hopkins dies, a thousand hghts attend 
The wretch who, living, saved a candle's end — 

were continued in St. John's until late in the last 
century. As many as thirty men were sometimes employed 
to assist at one of these dismal pomps, and more than half 
a hundred weight of wax candles, which then cost three 
shillings per pound, were used at one procession. It was 
also considered a breach of decorum for any mourner to 
appear at a funeral without a sprig of rosemary. Irrespec- 
tive of the searchers' fees, which varied from 2s. 6d. to 
7s. 6d. each, and exclusive of the undertaker's proper 
charges, the cost of this melancholy display was often as 
much as £\2 or ^15. A striking contrast to this ostenta- 
tion is furnished by an order of the Vestry, that the bearers 
should not wear their silk bands at pauper funerals, and 
that the pall to be used on such occasions should be of 
cloth instead of velvet, and inscribed with the words, 

*■" The Oxford and Cambridge Monthly Miscellany, September, 1750. 

122 Overcroivded state of the burial-ground. 

" Buried at the expense of the Parish." This stigma was 
removed in 1807. 

The Commissioners had so underestimated the mortality 
of the parish, that within twenty years from the consecra- 
tion the overcrowded condition of the burial ground 
became the cause of much anxiety. A proposal to enlarge 
the area by acquiring a piece of land on the west side had 
to be abandoned in consequence of the exorbitant price, 
and the deposit of three feet of earth over the whole site, 
at a cost of iJ^i2 5, was accepted as a remedy. Seven years 
later (1758) the process of 'raising' had to be repeated, 
though the expense was less, owing to a large quantity of 
mould and rubbish being available from the excavation in 
connection with extensive alterations then being made at 
St. Margaret's Church. The fees were also raised at this 
time with the view of reducing the number of interments. 
A further increase of charges was resorted to in 1784, when 
it was reported that the ground was " exceedingly full, 
owing to the low fees attracting interments from other 
parishes." A brick wall was erected in this year to enclose 
and embank the ground. Between 1803 and 1823, many 
entries tell of the troubles occasioned by the extent to 
which the death-rate had overgrown the small burial 
ground. One report declares " the uppermost corps to be 
scarcely more than two feet below the surface," and records 
an unsuccessful attempt to induce Lord Grosvenor to sell 
" a part of the fields adjoining the present burial ground ; " 
another minute records yet a further " raising of the ground " 
at a cost af £26^, besides £24. for beer for the men. Then 
follows an order that the fees be cjuadrupled ; but this 
expedient having failed, an urgent report was presented to 
the effect " that the part of the ground allotted for the poor 
is buried all over four or five deep ; that 5,126 graves 
had been dug in ten years ; that 5 or 6 coffins are placed in 
every grave where eight feet in depth can be obtained, and 
that many of the bodies are less than two feet from 
the surface " ! 

Additional land purchased. iS^ 

With this impartial and indisputable testimony before 
us, the description in Bleak House of the burial, in just 
such another place, of the unknown man, who was very 
good to Jo, which we might have regarded as being severely 
drawn, recalls itself with realistic accuracy : — 

Then the active and intelligent (beadle), who has got into the 
morning papers as such, comes with his pauper company to 
Mr. Krook's, and bears off the body of our dear brother here departed, 
to a hemmed-in churchyard, pestiferous and obscene, whence malig- 
nant diseases are communicated to the bodies of our dear brothers and 
sisters who have not departed ; while our dear brothers and sisters 
who hang about official back-stairs — would to Heaven they had 
departed ! — are very complacent and agreeable. Into a beastly scrap 
of ground which a Turk would reject as a savage abomination, and a 
Caffre would shudder at, they bring our dear brother here departed, to 
receive Christian burial. 

With houses looking on, on every side, save where a reeking little 
tunnel of a court gives access to the iron gate — with every villany of 
life in action close on death, and every poisonous element of death in 
action close on life — here, they lower our dear brother down a foot or 
two : here, sow him in corruption, to be raised in corruption : an 
avenging ghost at many a sick-bedside : a shameful testimony to 
future ages, how civilization and barbarism walked this boastful island 

In 1823, Lord Grosvenor relieved the parish from its dis- 
creditable position by surrendering a plot of land adjoining 
the original ground, upon payment of ^^2,050, or 25 years' 
purchase, the compensation for the leasehold interests being 
fixed by arbitration at ;^2,2 58. This additional space was 
consecrated on 23rd June, 1823, immediately upon which 
the "poor" ground was closed entirely against further inter- 
ments. By this time the number of military funerals had 
become considerable, owing to the existence of the three 
soldiers' hospitals in the parish; yet in September, 1853, 
when the new ground had been in constant requisition for 
thirty years, the Vestry offered the strongest possible 
resistance to Lord Palmerston's proposal to close the entire 
ground against further burials. His Lordship replied, how- 
ever, that " the ground had had deposited in it about six 
times the number of bodies it was properly fit to hold, and 

124 The Burial Ground. Claims by the Rectors. 

had become a great public nuisance." The closing Order 
was issued on 31st October, 1853. A loss to the revenue 
of the Church of ^240 followed, in consequence of which 
the salaries of all the Church officers were reduced, and 
other economies adopted. 

In 1 77 1 the Rector, the Rev. Joseph Sims, claimed the 
ground as his glebe, and alleged that he was entitled to 
receive all moneys paid to the Churchwardens for grave- 
stones, vaults, herbage, etc. Seven years later, Dr. Blair, 
who had succeeded Mr. Sims in the rectory, asserted a 
similar claim. To both these pretensions the Vestry, after 
having consulted counsel, offered a resolute resistance, in 
consequence of which nothing more was heard of the 
subject. {See page 68.) 

Readers of Dickens's Tale of Two Cities will recollect 
the skilful pourtrayal of the " Resurrection-man " in the 
character of Jerry Cruncher, the messenger at Tellson's, who, 
as "a honest tradesman, accustomed to make his way quietly," 
supplemented the income of his position by "going afishing" 
with a sack, a convenient crowbar, a rope, and some chain 
as his tackle. When challenged with having " an unlawful 
occupation, of an infamous description," Cruncher described 
himself as " an agricultural character " and pleaded that 
" wot with undertakers, wot with parish clerks, wot with 
sextons, and wot with private watchmen (all awaricious and 
all in it) a man wouldn't get much by it even if it was so." 

The abominable offence of stealing dead bodies for dis- 
section, which is said to have commenced in the autumn of 
1777, at the burial ground of St. George's Church, Blooms- 
bury, soon gave rise to trouble in St. John's. In 1781, the 
Vestry appointed two watchmen for night duty, to prevent 
such outrages ; subsequently they presented a petition to 
Parliament calling attention to the necessity of better secur- 
ing burial grounds and of the " more effectual punishment 
of violators of the rights of sepulture." As the offence 
became less prevalent, the watchmen were dispensed with ; 

Felonious disinterments. 


but one morning in November, 18 14, a spade, a sack, and 
a great coat being found upon the ground, led to the infer- 
ence that thieves had been disturbed at the commencement 
of their operations. The watchmen were thereupon re- 
instated, armed with pistols, and supplied with po\\'der and 
ball for their protection, the brick wall was raised, and a dwarf 
wall, with tall iron railings and gates, was erected at the 
Horseferry-road front. All these precautions were of little 
avail, however, as two men and a woman were shortly 
afterwards detected in the act of disinterring a body. They 
were all three convicted and sentenced to hard labour, after 
which there is no record of a repetition of the outrage. 

This is somewhat remarkable in vnew of the extent to 
which the offence was committed in Lambeth, with which 
parish there was constant communication by boat from the 
Horse Ferry. In October, 1794, a hackney coachman who 
was apprehended in the act of conveying dead bodies from 
the burial ground in High-street, Lambeth, was brought 
before the Magistrate at Union Hall, Borough. At the 
time the coach was seized, the body of the late porter to 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, that of a young woman, 
and . those of two children, were in it. The discovery 
caused such consternation among the inhabitants that they 
obtained permission for the friends of those recently buried 
to examine whether or not the bodies remained in the 
graves. " Shocking to say,* upwards of two hundred of 
the coffins taken up were found to be empty " (!). Large 
rewards were offered for the apprehension of the thieves, 
and a public remonstrance was afterwards, on sanitary 
grounds, made against the re-opening of the graves. 

With this information before us we are less disposed to 
criticise Hood's sketch oi Jack Hall when he says — 

By day it was his trade to go 

Tending the black coach to and fro ; 

And sometimes at the door of woe, 
With emblems suitable, 

He stood with brother Mute, to show 
That life is mutable. 

* Gentleman's Magazine, Vol, LXIV., p. 274. 

126 Bm'ial in ivoollen. 

But long before they passed the ferry 
The dead that he had helped to bury 
He sacked — (he had a sack to carry 

The bodies off in) ; 
In fact he let them have a very 

Short fit of coffin. 

Night after night, with crow and spade, 
He drove this dead but thriving trade. 
Meanwhile his conscience never weighed, 

A single horsehair ; 
On corses of all kinds he preyed, 

A perfect corsair. 

The use of woollen material for shrouds, which was made 
compulsory by an Act of Parliament passed in 1667-8 
(Charles II.) was enforced in this parish so lately as 181 1, 
as shown by an entry in the Churchwardens' Accounts 
under date of 28th March in that year : — 

Received a moiety of the penalty for Mrs. Christie 

being buried in linen ... ... ... •■•£'2 10 o 

The object of the Act was " the encouragement of the 
woollen manufacture of this kingdom, and prevention of 
the exportation of the moneys thereof for the buying and 
importing of linen"; but the penalty of ^5 did not prevent 
the frequent breach of its provisions. In detestation of the 
4avv "Nance Oldfield," the celebrated actress, who spent her 
-early life in Westminster, gave directions in her last 
moments for her interment in full dress — directions noticed 
by Pope in his Moral Essays (Epistle I., line 246): — 

" Odious ! in woollen ! 'twould a saint provoke ; " 
(Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke) 
" No, let a charming chintz and Brussels lace 
Wrap my cold liinbs, and shade my lifeless face : 
One would not, sure, be frightful when one's dead — 
And — Betty + —give this cheek a little red." 

From lack of funds, owing to the Order in Council for 
the closing of the ground having effectually cut off the 
income, the place soon began to wear a neglected 
appearance. Walls, railings, vaults and gravestones, all fell 

t A reference to Mrs. Saunders, Mrs. Qldfield's confidential friend. 

The '■dreadful spot' unproved. 127 

into decay, and for five and twenty years the spot wore the 
gloomy aspect in which Esther, to quote from Bleak House 
again, found the burial ground to which she was conducted 
after her night's journey through the thawing snow — "where 
one lamp was burning over an iron gate, and where the 
morning faintly struggled in. The gate was closed. Beyond 
it was a burial ground — a dreadful spot in which the night 
was very slowly stirring; but where I could dimly see heaps 
of dishonoured graves and stones hemmed in by filthy 
houses, with a few dull lights in the windows, and on whose 
wall a thick humidity broke out like a disease." 

Improvement came about, however, in a somewhat un- 
expected manner. In 1878, the Westminster District Board 
of Works, having been long impressed with the need of a 
public mortuary, proposed to erect such a building upon 
the disused ground. The voice and vigour of the Rector 
were soon exercised in opposition to the project ; but it was 
approved by 74 votes at a meeting of parishioners. Not- 
withstanding a generous offer made by the Duke of 
Westminster to grant a freehold site for the structure 
elsewhere, the application for a faculty was persevered 
with, but it met with refusal. The offer of a site was never- 
theless confirmed by the Duke of Westminster, and the 
project bore other good results in that it aroused to activity 
the interest of the parishioners in their burial ground. A 
committee of inhabitants was instituted in 1880 to lay out 
the ground, to take the necessary steps to convert it into a 
public garden, and to raise funds for the purpose by an appeal 
for public subscri^^tions. Their efforts were aided by a faculty 
granted by the Consistory Court, and by the passing of the 
Metropolitan Open Spaces Act, by which the Westminster 
Board of Works was enabled to take over the maintenance 
of the ground. A further encouragement to the adoption 
of this course was offered by the Duke of Westminster who, 
besides contributing liberally to the funds raised by the 
inhabitants' committee, placed a more suitable site for 

128 Broinpto7i cemetery. 

mortuary buildings than that at first proposed, at the dis- 
posal of the Board, upon the expiration of the short residue 
of the lease. The committee lost no time in carrying out 
the work, in connection with which a strip of the ground 
was surrendered for the widening of Horseferry-road. The 
whole was completed at an expense of £1,622, irrespective 
of the cost of the street improvement, which was defrayed 
by the Board, and the ground publicly opened and dedicated 
as an open space on the 23rd May, 1885, by the Duke of 
Westminster. In December, 1866, Mr. (now Sir) F. Seager 
Hunt (M.P. for Marylebone), undertook to erect a shelter 
or pavilion in the centre of the garden. The structure was 
completed in April, 1887, at a cost of i^200. 

Long before the issue of the Order in Council for the 
closing of the ground in 1853, a company had obtained 
power from Parliament (i Vict., cap. cxxx.) to provide 
a cemetery at Brompton for interments from Westminster. 
By section 22 of the Act, a fee of ten shillings was reserved 
to the Rector of St. John's upon every interment from his 
parish in the consecrated portion of the cemetery. By an 
Act passed in 15 & 16 Vict. (cap. 85), the cemetery became 
vested in the Crown ; but the fees in respect of the entire 
civil parish of St. John's continued to be paid to Archdeacon 
Jennings until his death, when they were distributed among 
the vicars of the several ecclesiastical districts into which 
the mother parish had been divided. 

A perusal of the burial registers from 1731 to 1853, dis- 
closes little of interest beyond the evidence of longevity in 
the parish which they furnish. No less than 107 nonoge- 
narians and seven centenarians* are registered. Of the 
former, seven had entered upon their 99th year, and 26 

* In 1783, Elizabeth Smith, widow, aged 100 years, was an unsuccessful 
candidate for admission to the Emanuel Hospital. She renewed her applica- 
tion two years afterwards; but again failed to obtain the charity. Her burial 
is not entered in St. John's registers. 

On the 27th May, 1784, died George Sims, of Great Peter Street, aged 103 

Longevity. A doubtful case. 


died in the workhouse. The names and addresses of the 
seven centenarians have been extracted : — 





1787 . 

. Nicholas Gentle 

. The Workhouse 


1800 . 

Catherine Fraser .. 

. St. Ann's street 

. 107 

1817 . 

. Elizabeth Hearn 

. St. Ann's street 

. 100 

1828 . 

. Elizabeth Shuan 

. 44, Old Pye street . 


1833 • 

. Susannah Forgain .. 

. The Workhouse 


1834 . 

. Mary Purdy 

. 9, Esher street 


1838 . 

. Elizabeth Stanley .. 

. The Workhouse 

. lOI 

No stone or tablet in the burial ground marks the resting 
place of either of these. The only stone which records an 
age of more than 100 years, is that of Christopher Shephard 
distiller, of Peter-street, who died on the 5th April, 17x2, 
aged 146 years. The stone, which lies on the east side of 
the ground, reveals, on close inspection, a clumsy piece of 
carving in the " i " prefixed to the "46." There is also the 
appearance of the figure preceding the " 2 " having been 
defaced so as to prevent the entry being easily checked by 
the registers. A search extending over sixty years discovered 
the entry of the burial as having taken place in 1732. No 
ages are given in the register ; but as odd memoranda are 
in some places added on commonplace subjects, it is 
remarkable that so great an age was not thought worthy of 
note. An application was made to the Vestry on 25th 
April, 1732, for leave to construct a vault, and ^5 5s. was 
paid for the concession ; but although the particulars 
entered on the Vestry minutes are in other respects full, 
there is no mention made of the age. 

Walcott states that the burial ground contains the 
ashes of an Indian Chief, who, having been brought to 
England in 1734 by Mr. James Oglethorpe, died of small- 
pox, and was buried in the presence of the ' emperor 
Toma,' after the custom of the Karakee Creeks, sewn up 
in two blankets, between two deal boards, with his clothes, 
some silver coins and a few glass beads. 

The same author also mentions a tomb bearing an inscrip- 

130 Tlic Burial Ground. 

tion to the memory of Donald Grant, I^.D., "whose ecclesias- 
tical emoluments during a ministry of forty-four years in the 
Established Church amounted to i5^743, or an average of 
rather less than £1^ per annum. Yet, with no original 
patrimony he was enabled to preserve through life the 
independence of a man, and the respectability of a clergy- 
man ; to supply the decencies of a comfortable mediocrity ; 
to spare something for the wants of Genius, Industry and 
Worth, and to leave a benefaction for the education of two 
young men in his parent University! " Owing in all proba- 
bility to the displacement of the stones during the laying 
out of the ground, the tomb is not now traceable. 

On the east side of the ground stands an unsightly 
monument in granite, clumsily inscribed in huge letters to 
the memory of " Ch""- Cass, Master Mason to His Maj.'s 
Ordnance. Died Apl. 21, 1734. Aged 58." He was 
employed on the construction of St. John's Church, and on 
several of the other churches built by Queen Anne's Com- 
mission. He was also one of the original vestrymen 
appointed by the Commission. 

A plain headstone marks the resting place of James 
Caldwall, a celebrated designer and engraver, who died 9th 
March, 1822, at the age of 84. He applied his talent 
mainly to portraiture, in which he obtained commands 
from Catherine, Countess of Suffolk, Sir Henry Oxenden, 
Bart., Sir John Glynne, Admiral Keppel, Mrs. Siddons, and 
other distinguished persons. He was also an exhibitor at 
the Society of Artists and at the Free Society between 
1768 and 1780. 

There is nothing in the other inscriptions to encourage 
us to make a 

" Fond attempt to give a deathless lot 
To names ignoble, born to be forgot," 

for besides the railed tomb of John Bacchus, which was 
repaired and painted until 1889 by the Trustees of his 

Aldermmi Johnsons tombstones. 131 

charity,* and a plain flat gravestone inscribed " Aid"- J. J.," 
to the memory of Lord Mayor Johnson, who was church- 
warden in 1845, there are no other stones deserving of 
special notice here. The inscription on the large granite 
slab, which has been placed on the south side of the ground 
to supersede, as it were, the last named modest stone, is 
copied in the reference to Alderman Johnson in the next 

But it is time to bring to a close a visit already, perhaps, 
too protracted, lest we prompt the enquiring complaint — 

Wherefore all this wormy circumstance ? 
Why linger at the yawning tombs so long ? 

* This obligation has not passed to the Trustees appointed under the Scheme 
of the Charity Commission. See Chapter xvi. 

I 2 

132 '■'■Hcrcs a zvisc officer." 

Chapter VI. 


" And honour's thought 
Reigned solely in the breast of every man." 

" Henry V." 

" They pursue the pebbly walk 
That leads to the white porch the Sunday throng, 
And posied churchwardens with solemn stalk 
And gold-bedizened beadle flames along." 


" It often happens that those are the best people whose characters have been most injured 
by slanders, as we usually find that to be the sweetest fruit which the birds have been pecking 
at." — Poi'E. 

The Parish Beadle. — The Churchwardens ; List of — ' Churchwarden's 
day.' — Fines for non-acceptance of office. — A funeral. — An impri- 
sonment. — A procession. — Mr. Taverner John Miller. — The Church- 
wardens' ' Snuff-box.' — The Treasurers. — The Overseers ; List of — 
The Overseers' ' Tobacco-box.' — Vestry Clerks. 

/^UR survey of the burial-ground being ended, we turn 
to mingle again with the living and to consult with 
some of those who have distinguished themselves as office 
bearers in the parish. With this object we direct our steps 
in search of the parish clerk ; but our progress is arrested 
by a husky voice as we leave the silent acre. The owner 
of this voice overtakes us. He is short, with a disposition 
to corpulent rotundity, and with an infirm gait which has 
invoked the aid of a thick stick. If the assumed air of 
officious gravity and importance had failed to inform us of 
his dignity and power, the profusion of gilt band upon his 
broad-brimmed hat * and of gilt braid upon his wide red 
collar, would soon have warned us that we were confronted 
by no less a functionary than Scowler, the beadle ! If we 
had had any doubt, it would at once have been set at rest 

* The annual charge for the beadle's hats was ;i^4 19s. od. — ;i^3 3s. od. for 
the " Cocked Hat and gold -lace complete," and £1 i6s. od. for the " Round. 
Hat and gold lace complete." The payments were continued so lately as 1845. 

The parish beadle. 1 3 3 

by the awe-inspired alacrity with which two Httlc chikh-cn 
sped across the road to avoid his threatening eye. Having 
gratified his curiosity as to our business in the burial-ground, 
we had no difficulty in exciting his garrulity, in which the 
dignity and responsibility of his office were in no way im- 
paired by absence of effort on his part to maintain it. We 
soon learned that his special errand at the time was to bear 
a draft handed him by Mr. Seater, the rector's church- 
warden, to present to the Treasurer in exchange for cash to 
meet the payments due to the parish clerk, the sexton, the 
organist, the pew-openers, the bearers, the searchers, the 
collectors, the watchmen and others on the parochial staff, 
besides furnishing the overseers with the small change 
needed to relieve the large demands of the idlers, the 
miserable and the deserving poor who had attended ' the 
board ' at the King's Head overnight. Having endeavoured 
to impress us with his importance, Mr. Scowler lost no time 
in spreading before us his tale of hardship and grievance — 
how he was overworked and underpaid — as if it were pos- 
sible for a parish beadle not to be so ; how his asthma had 
been worse ever since he was called up at midnight, to take 
the engine to a fire which only burnt in the imagination of 
the youths of the parish, and how the sexton had induced 
Mr. Gatherbutton, the people's warden, to order him to as- 
sist in lighting the fires in the church stoves every week in- 
stead of every month. 

A generation had passed away since his election, which 
was only remembered by a few of the older inhabitants. 
It had occasioned nothing of the parochial convulsion 
which had recently occurred in the parish of St. Margaret.* 

* A packet of letters from applicants for the office of beadle, when the posi- 
tion was vacant in St. Margaret's in 1790, was found a short time ago. Nearly 
every candidate urged as his peculiar qualification the number of his family. 
The letters, and the proceedings of the Vestry in making the appointment, 
vividly recalled the inimitable sketch by Dickens and the placards he descrilies : 
—"Bung for Beadle. Five small children! Hopkins for Beadle. Seven 
small children ! ! Timkins for Beadle. Nine small children ! ! ! Spruggins for 
Beadle. Ten small children (two of them twins) and a wife ! ! ! ! " 

134 ^^^^'^ parisli officers. 

In the days of his prosperity, his position as a ' respectable 
tradesman ' had obtained him a seat upon the Vestry ; as 
the day of his adversity began to overshadow him he had 
resigned his seat in order to compete for the office of parish 
clerk ; but that appointment had been given to the son of 
the outgoing bed-ridden officer, upon condition that the 
son allowed his father one half the salary and emoluments 
of the office for the remainder of his life. Scowler's day of 
opportunity dawned, however, when it was told throughout 
the parish that Wheezy, the beadle, who was greatly en- 
feebled by age, had died somewhat suddenly as the result 
of over-exertion. In his efforts to drive towards the green- 
yard two straying young porkers expelled from their havoc 
in a Vestryman's garden. Wheezy had fallen, helpless, into 
a stagnant pool, drained into a hole in the highway from 
the cattle sheds at the rear of the Pig and Pattens. 
Although he was extricated and conducted home by the 
friendly potman, (who had many times assisted him in the 
same direction when incapable from other causes,) the in- 
defatigable officer succumbed to the effects of the excite- 
ment and partial immersion.* 

Here it became necessary for us to wrench ourselves from 
Mr. Scowler's loquacity, and to betake ourselves again to 
the parish books for such particulars as might be there 
gleaned of the forefathers and colleagues in office of Messrs. 
Seater and Gatherbutton. 

By the Canons of the Church (89 and 90, 2 James I., 
1603-4) churchwardens were to be chosen every year by 
the joint consent of the minister and parishioners in 
Easter week, on the day which the minister shall appoint 
and publicly notify in the church the Sunday before ; 
but by virtue of an immemorial custom in the parish of St. 
Margaret, both the churchwardens were chosen annually by 
the Vestry on the Thursday next before Whitsunday, and 

The last recorded election of beadle took place in 1847. 

JV/io has the office?'' 


by virtue of sec. xxi. of the Act 10 Anna^, cap. II., the 
custom became observable in the parish of St. John the 
Evangelist. The choice of both churchwardens by the 
Vestry continued to be exercised until 1853, when an Act 
(16 and 17 Vict., cap. 225) was passed "for the appoint- 
ment and regulation of Vestries in the parishes of St 
Margaret and St. John the Evangelist, Westminster." This 
Act prescribes that, in case there shall be a difference of 
opinion between the rector and the Vestry as to the choice 
of churchwardens, " the Rector shall nominate and appoint 
one of the churchwardens, and the majority of the Vestry- 
men present shall then and there elect the other church- 
warden." Although no " disagreement " is recorded, the 
rector has, since 1854, invariably appointed one of the 
churchwardens^ and the Vestry the other. The rule thus 
established is observed at the present time, and in the 
district churches. The following is a 

List of the Churchwardens. 

1729-33. Sir R. Grosvenor 

1734. Sir R. Grosvenor 

1735. John Crosse 

1736. William Ayres 

1737. Major J. Rusden 

1738. Samuel Harvey 

1739. Henry Dagley 

1740. Benjamin Barker 

1741. Roger Jackson 

1742. Matthew Fisher 

1743. John Smalhvell 

1744. Charles Crosse 

1745. Samuel Price 

1746. Andrew Parsons 

1747. William Gallant 

1748. Hammond Crosse 

1749. William Pacey 

1750. Robert Howard 

175 1. Charles Kerwood 

1752. Henry Conyers 

1753. John Powell 

Sir T. Crosse 
John Crosse 
William Ayres 
Major J. Rusden 
Samuel Harvey 
Henry Dagley 
Benjamin Barker 
Roger Jackson 
Matthew Fisher 
John Smalhvell 
Charles Crosse 
Samuel Price 
Joseph Pratt 
William Gallant 
Hammond Crosse 
William Pacey 
Robert Howard 
Charles Kerwood 
Henry Conyers 
John Powell 
/-♦Robert Wright 
\ Henry Conyers 

Died during his term of office. 

I ^6 TJic parish officers. The cliurcliivardens. 

754. John Powell 

755. Robert Benson 

756. John Parquot 

757. William Cowley 

758. John Bacchus 

759. Richard Pearce 

760. Benjamin Barker 

761. Edward Hill 

762. John Vaughan 

763. Thomas Clark 

764. Thomas F'isher 

765. John Whitehead 

766. John Waker 

767. Thomas Lloyd 

768. Timothy Carter 

769. John Simpson 

770. William Leigh 

771. William Harrison 

772. John Price 

773. John Fells 

774. William Stratford 

775. John Bradley 

776. Matthew Nesham 
-]-]■]. William Barrett 

778. John Williams 

779. Thomas Gayfere 

780. George Byfield 

781. George Byfield 

782. Matthew Wiggins 

783. James^Arrow 

784. Morris Marsault 

785. George Graves 

786. Morris Marsault 

787. Charles Clarke 

788. Charles Clarke 

789. John Groves 

790. Robert Clarke 

791. Thomas Pearce 

792. James Ellis 

793. John Ansell 

794. Thos. Dickinson 

795. J. A. Schwenck 

796. Stephen Cosser 

797. Joseph Moser 

798.*George Ellis 
799. Thomas Boys 

Jeremiah Maiden 

John Parquot 

William Cowley 

John Bacchus 

Richard Pearce 

Benjamin Barker 

Edward Hill 

John Vaughan 

William Byfield 

Thomas Fisher 

John Whitehead 

John Waker 

Thomas Lloyd 

Timothy Carter 

John Simpson 

William Leigh 

William Harrison 

John Price 

John Fells 

William Stratford 

John Bradley 

Matthew Nesham 

William Barrett 

John Williams 

Thomas Gayfere 

George Byfield 

William Eves 

Matthew Wiggins 

James Arrow 

Thomas Greenaway 

George Graves 

Morris Marsault 

John Marguard 

William Davis 

John Groves 

Robert Clarke 

Thomas Pearce 

James Ellis 

John Ansell 

John Fen wick 

J. A. Schwenck 

Stephen Cosser 

Joseph Moser 

George Ellis 
(William A. Wallinger 
I Thomas Boys 

William Turner 

Died during his term of office. 


Tins is woisJiipful society!'' 



William Turner 

/ *Jordan James Arrow 
I Edward Medley 


Edward Medley 

Charles Slater 


Charles Slater 

/*John Price 

\ James Sheppard 


James Sheppard 

Benjamin Hodges 


James Allen 

William Ginger 


William Ginger 

Thos. Glover Holt 


Thomas G. Holt 

Jonathan Hitchins 


Jonathan Hitchins 

Henry White 


Henry White 

Benj. John Johnson 


Benj. John Johnson 

Hall Wake 


Hall Wake 

Joseph Wood 


Joseph Wood 

Thomas Boys 


Thomas Boys 

James Watts 


James Watts 

Joseph Sanders 


Joseph Sanders 

Charles P. Jones 


Matthew Jenkinson 

John Slater 

1 8 16. 

John Slater 

Thomas Sheppard 


Thos Sheppard 

Leonard Turney 


Leonard Turney 

Joseph Lyon 


Joseph Lyon 

David Green 


David Green 

Thomas Daniel 


Thomas Daniel 

James Veal 


James Veal 

Richard Maskell 


Richard Maskell 

James Firth 


James Firth 

George Henry Malme 


George H. Malme 

John Shepherd 


C. W. Hallett 

W. H. Jackson 


W. H. Jackson 

David Shuter 


David Shuter 

Thomas Baker 


David Shuter 

Archibald Michie 


Joseph Bennett 

George Pink 


George Pink 

James Hunt 


James Hunt 

William Evans 


William Evans 

Joseph Carter Wood 


Joseph C. Wood 

Jonathan Sawyer 


Jonathan Sawyer 

John Johnson 


John Johnson 

James Lys Seager 


W. Burridge, jun. 

J. A. Walmisley 


W. Burridge, jun. 

James Elyard 


James Elyard 

Samuel John Noble 


Samuel J. Noble 

Taverner J. Miller 


Taverner J. Miller 

James Howell 


James Howell 

Thomas Wright 


Robert Stafford 

A. L. Mc Bain 


Robert Stafiford 

Samuel Hemmings 

* Died durin 

g their term of office. 


The parish officers. The cJiurcJnvardens. 

1845. Samuel Hemmings 

1846. Joseph Bennett 

1847. Thomas Eversfield 

1848. Thomas Eversfield 

1849. William Woolley 

1850. John Downey 

185 1. Lieut. Henry Coode (R.N.) 

1852. Lieut. Henry Coode (R.N.) 

1853. Fredk. S. W. Sheppard 

1854. John Norris 

1855. Taverner John Miller 

1856. John Norris 

1857. John Norris 

1858. John Norris 

1859. John Billing 
i860. John Billing 

1 86 1. John Billing 

1862. John Billing 

1863. John Billing 

1864. Thomas Horn 

1865. Thomas Horn 

1866. William Sims Pratten 

1867. George Burt 

1868. John Jobson 

1869. Frederick Seager Hunt 

1870. Henry Bingley 

187 1. George Taverner Miller 

1872. George Taverner Miller 

1873. George Taverner Miller 

1874. George Taverner Miller 

1875. George Taverner Miller 

1876. George Taverner Miller 

1877. George Taverner Miller 

1878. George Taverner Miller 

1879. George Taverner Miller 

1880. William Sugg 

1 88 1. William Sugg 

1882. George Taverner Miller 

1883. George Taverner Miller 

1884. George Taverner Miller 

1885. Michael Holman Bishop 
1S86. Michael Holman Bishop 

1887. Michael Holman Bishop 

1888. Michael Holman Bishop 

1889. Michael Holman Bishop 

1890. ^ Michael Holman Bishop 

1891. Michael Holman Bishop 

1892. Michael Holman Bishop 

Joseph Bennett 

William R. Gritten 

William Woolley 

William Woolley 

John Downey 

Lieut. Henry Coode (R.N.) 

Fredk. Sampson William Sheppar 

Fredk. Sampson William Sheppard 

John Norris 

Robert Boyd 

Robert Boyd 

Henry Stephen Ridley 

George Ray 

Job Cook 

William Bottrill 

James Howell 

James Howell 

Thomas Horn 

Edward Grove 

Thomas Henry Hartley 

Thomas Henry Hartley 

George Burt 

John Jobson 

Frederick Seager Hunt 

Henry Bingley 

George Taverner Miller 

John Dalton 

John Dalton 

George Adams 

George Cook 

William John Bennett 

William John Bennett 

James Margrie 

James Margrie 

Harry Nelson Bowman Spink 

Harry Nelson Bowman Spink 

Harry Nelson Bowman Spink 

Thomas Joseph Tayton 

Thomas Joseph Tayton 

William Henry Baker 

Thomas Holder 

Thomas Holder 

Chas. Christmas Piper 

Chas. Christmas Piper 

Herman Olsen Hamborg 

Herman Olsen Hamborg 

John Hayler 

Thos. Wm. Davies 

" Tlicir functions and tlieir offices." 1 39 

The two "well-beloved and trusty," whose names stand at 
the commencement of this long line, and whose arms are 
given on the next page, were appointed in the first instance 
by the Commissioners acting under the Act of 10 Anna;, 
cap. II., sec. 19. They were first elected by "the parishioners 
in Vestry assembled " on the 22nd May, 1729, when the 
proceedings were conducted, as the records inform us, 
" according to the custom of St. Margaret's parish." To 
these, their first churchwardens, the parishioners are indebted 
for the church-plate, described at page 54. 

In his humorous sketch of " Our Parish," Charles Dickens 
excluded the churchwardens from his description of the 
parish officers "because all we know of them is that they are 
usually respectable tradesmen who wear hats with brims 
— inclined to flatness, and who occasionally testify in gilt 
letters on a blue ground, in some conspicuous part of the 
church, to the important fact of a gallery having been 
enlarged and beautified, or an organ re-built." Without 
questioning the accuracy of this description, so far as it 
goes, we might add two qualifications — they must be 
capable of genth' sibillating their respective patron}'mics in 
the Archidiaconal ear, or in that of the Diocesan secretar}% 
and of" presenting all such things as are by law presentable," 
— including the visitation fees. For much the same reason 
as that assigned by the great master of fiction, we do not 
propose to encumber these pages with genealogical or 
biographical notes upon the two hundred and fifty 
individuals whose names we have just enrolled ; but as 
there were some few who achieved distinction in various 
ways, we shall return to them presently, lest it may be 
thought they have been overlooked. 

An important institution in the parish used to be 
" Churchwardens' day." Besides the ringing of the bells, the 
playing of the organ, the processions up the Church, the 
transfer of the keys and plate, the declaration by the rector, 
and the other formalities observed in immediate connection 

140 TJic arms of Sir Robert Grosvcnor and Sir Thomas 


The parish officers. ChiircJnvardens' Day. 141 

with the annual elections, the day was marked for many 
years by the " parish parade," in which the bearers, grave 
diggers, pew openers, gallery keepers and others mustered, 
and in which excitement was raised to its highest pitch by 
the fire-drill. Then all became bustle. The little boys 
would rouse the neighbourhood as they ran shouting at the 
tops of their voices to the engine-house, then to the beadle's 
house, thence to the public-houses in succession, until they 
had found the beadle. This accomplished, the beadle would 
run — a feat only performed once a year — for well nigh a 
dozen paces, when exhaustion would compel him to support 
himself by the nearest railings for some few seconds. 
Arrived at the engine-house, the perspiring beadle would 
dispatch some of his juvenile assistants to his house for the 
key, while he seated himself on the dwarf wall close by to 
await their return. After some delay the forerunner of the 
youths would return shouting, " There's no one at home," 
which would put the decrepid beadle under the rare necessity 
of " hurrying " to procure the keys himself; but before he 
would be seen again the bystanders would have drawn the 
hasp; the engine would be run out amidst a shout, and 
would be rumbling along the footway at fully three 
miles an hour to the point of call. Another bevy of 
small boys would next be sent off in search of Aquarius 
the turncock. This indispensable functionary having at last 
been brought to the spot, and the right fire-plug having 
been discovered and opened after much patient effort, 
a gentle stream of water would begin to flow and to elicit 
the cheers of the youthful spectators. The busy beadle, who 
had by this time put in his second appearance, would now 
superintend and direct the disentangling and coupling of 
the twisted hose, and the eager hands of the larger boys 
would, at his terrible bidding ' man ' the pump, but only to 
find that the hose had become so perished and cracked as 
to be useless. An order would be given on the spot for the 
hose to be forthwith put under repair at the parish cobbler's, 

142 " Lcfs to dinner ; conic, Icfs to dinner' 

and the display would terminate in a manner impatiently 
awaited by the church servants, and which is regularly 
inscribed in the accounts for many years prior to 1830, in 
some such form as the following : — 

To the six bearers, grave digger, engine keeper, two 
gallery keepers, bell-ringers, pew-openers, beadle, 
organ blower and vestry-keeper on the day the 
churchwardens were elected ... ... ... £2 5 o 

For the next scene in continuation of the day's pro- 
ceedings we must adjourn to the Salutation tavern, where 
the ' business ' is to conclude wath " the churchwardens' 


" And feeding high, and living soft 
Grew plump and able-bodied ; 
Until the grave churchwarden doff'd. 
The parson smirk'd and nodded." 

As fashion has fixed the dinner hour at three o'clock* we 
proceed at once to this second Vestry meeting of the day 
Supported by the outgoing and incoming wardens, by the 
overseers, by the Vestrymen in full force, and by the prin- 
cipal officials, — 

" The Rector at the table's front presides. 
Whose presence a monastic life derides ; 
The reverend wig, in sideway order placed, 
The reverend band by rubric stains disgraced, 
The leering eye in wayward circles roll'd, 
Mark him the pastor of a jovial fold. 
Whose various texts excite a loud applause. 
Favouring the bottle and the good old cause." 

Here, amid the clattering of plates and dishes and cutlery, 

and as course after course of substantial English fare would 

appear and disappear, our parish fathers would discuss parish 

matters : — 

And mix sobriety with wine 

And honest mirth with thoughts divine. 

* In the WeeJdy Journal of 4th January, 1735, there is an order to the Band 
of Cientlemen Pensioners, in which three o'clock is mentioned "as the usual 
time of his Majesty retiring to go to dinner." 

" We go to-niorrow to walk in Richmond Gardens, and they are all to dine 
here at three o'clock," — Earl of March to George Selwyn, Jtine, lyO'j. 

TJie cJiurcJnvardens dinner. 143 

The sight of the first tureen of steaming soup would 
remind the advocate of " retrenchment and reform " of his 
intention to move at the next Vestry for " a copy of the 
recipe from which the paupers' soup was prepared, together 
with the documents relating thereto," while a newly elected 
Vestryman, disappointed in having failed to obtain a scat 
on one of the committees, would declare his determination 
to oppose the introduction of knives and forks into the 
workhouse* as being an unnecessary, extravagant, and 
dangerous innovation ; but as the tables became relieved 
of their lightened dishes, and as the foreheads became 
relieved of the perspiration provoked by the stuffy at- 
mosphere, those who had at first shown a disagreeable 
disposition, became remarkably bland, until complete 
unanimity prevailed in accordance with the clever parody 
of the well known passage in TwelftJi NigJit (Act I. 
Sc. I):— 

" If Lobsters be the Sauce for Turbot, heap on, 
Give me another plate — that so the appetite 
May gormandize before the season's out, 
That smack again ; — it had a luscious relish ; 
Oh, it came o'er my palate like sweet jelly, 
That doth accompany a haunch just touch'd. 
Stealing and giving odour ; enough, — no more — 
O pamper'd taste I how cjuickly cloy'd thou art, 
That, notwithstanding my capacious eye 
Is bigger than my paunch, nought enters there 
Of what high pi'ice and rarity soever, 
But turns to chalk-stone, and the gnawing gout. 
Even in a minute ! such pains do lurk unseen 
In dishes seasoned high, fantastical." t 

Grace having been said, there would follow the " toast and 
sentiment," in which the Chairman would introduce " the 

* According to a newspaper paragraph knives and forks were provided for 
the use of the paupers in a country workhouse, for the first time, at their 
Christmas dinner in 1888. 

t Gentleman's Magazine, Vol, LXIV, J'art II., p. 654. 

144 After dinner. 

King — and his speedy recovery," or the " Prince Regent," or 
" the Wooden Walls of Old England." Then 

Round went the flasks of ruddy wine, 
From Bordeaux, Orleans or the Rhine ; 
And all was mirth and revelry. 

And then the churchwarden pipe and the " Tobacco Box " 
would add to the social cheer, in the course of which — 

The chairman pledged his welcome guest, 
The cup went through among the rest. 
Who drained it merrily. 

When the services of the outgoing warden had been duly 
recognised, one gentleman would ask another " Hob and 
Nob ? " The other would politely acquiesce, and the two 
gentlemen would then touch their glasses together and 
invoke health on each other. In this little courtesy the 
challenger would usually put the rim of his glass a little 
below the rim of his friend's, who, as a matter of compli- 
ment, would make a feint of resisting the honour by lowering 
his own. The early summer evening had not cast its shade 
as this second vestry meeting would rise, and the company 
disperse in little groups, some to stroll under the willows 
of Millbank, and across the fields, to continue their pro- 
menade in the ' genteel walks ' of Ranelagh ; some to take 
the ferry across to the Spring Gardens at Vauxhall to enjoy 
Dr. Arne's music or the fireworks, and others to take their 
accustomed corner at their favourite coffee-house, to learn 
the latest intelligence from the Gazette Extraordinary. 

With the exception of the invitations for the officials, the 
expense of which was charged against the parish, the cost 
of these annual entertainments was defrayed either by 
subscription or by the churchwardens. In course of 
time, however, the pecuniary liability on account of 
Churchwarden's Day was regarded as somewhat burden- 
some. By way of remedy, an allowance of ^12 was 
annually voted, for many years, to each churchwarden 
'' towards the extra expense they are at in serving 


" / (/o not like tJie office!' 145 

the office ; " but the grant did not remove an indis- 
position to accept 'the honours of office.' Between 1768 
and 1 8 16, no less than ^^340 were carried to the parish 
credit in the form of fines of i^20 each imposed upon seven- 
teen Vestrymen who dechned to serve when nominated as 
churchwardens. One of these was Thomas Churchill, a 
relative of the poet (1769), another w^as " Lord Viscount 
Belgrave " (1796), a third was x'ldmiral Ommaney (1798), a 
fourth was Mr. Thomas Green, the parish treasurer, who 
paid the fine rather than accept the office for two months 
upon a vacancy being caused by death in 1801, and a fifth 
was Mr. James Ellis, the parish attorney, in 1807. Two 
gentlemen paid iJ"20 each in 1794, and three forfeited the 
same amount each in 1798 to be excused accepting the 

An endeavour to impose the honours of office and the 
penalty for non-acceptance upon a reluctant Vestryman, 
was successfully contested in 1801, when Thomas Sibell 
pleaded that he was the assignee of a certificate* duly 
granted to John Doney of his having apprehended and 
prosecuted to conviction two men for a burglary in his 
dwelling house and stealing therein goods of the value of 
fourteen shillings and ninepence, " such certificate discharg- 
ing the said John Doney from all manner of parish offices." 
Being unable to realise the possibility of exemption under 
such circumstances, the Vestry referred the claim to the 
parish attorney, upon whose advice it was allowed. 

In 1796 a custom was established of presenting each out- 
going churchw^arden with " a folio prayer-book, handsomely 
bound in morocco, gilt, and lettered with his name thereon," 
as a memento of his year of office. The custom ceased, 
owing to lack of funds, nine years ago. It was not sus- 

* These certificates were known as "Tyburn Tickets." They were assign- 
able once, and exempted the receiver or his immediate assignee from all offices 
within the parish or ward where the felony was committed. In some parishes 
they would sell for ;/^25 or ^30, in otheis from ;^I5 to ;^i8, according to the 
importance of the parish, 


146 The P(xrisli Officers. A funeral. 

pendcd even though, in 181 8 the Vestry passed a vote of 
censure upon the churchwardens " for not meeting the Ves- 
try at the time of its being called and keeping it waiting 
nearly half an hour." 

In the long " roll of fame " we have just passed are the 
names of many to whom Dickens's description would have 
applied. There are also the names of many professional 
men, gentlemen, and merchants — laymen whose services 
were highly prized by the clergy and the parishioners — 
whose strong desire for reverential decency in the services 
of the Church, was only equalled by their unswerving recti- 
tude and dignity in the conduct of the public affairs of the 
parish. An entry in the Vestry Minutes of March, 1801, 
testifies to the respect in which the Churchwardens of the 
" respectable tradesman " class were held : — 

Mr. Church Warden Turner wishing to pay a Tribute of Respect 
to the Memory of his late colleague, Mr. Church Warden Arrow, 
waited in person upon the Gentlemen of the Vestry, requesting their 
Attendance in the Vestry Room, on Friday the 6th of March 
instant, being the day appointed for his Interment, when being 
assembled, and the entrance to the Church being hned with the 
Vohmteers of the Saint Margaret and Saint John's Association 
commanded by the Right Honorable Lord Viscount Belgrave in 
person, it was agreed to meet the Body on the steps leading up 
to the Church — That the Wand of the deceased should be placed 
on the coffin — And after the Mourners had passed to proceed in 
the following Order — 

1st. The Bedle with the Top of his Staff entwined with crape. 
2nd. Mr. Church Warden Turner alone with his Wand (the 

Ensign of Office) entwined with crape also. 
3rd. The Gentlemen of the Vestry two and two, beginning with 

the Juniors. 
4th. The Vestry Clerk. 

After the usual Service in the Church, an appropriate part of 
the 39th Psalm, was solemnly sung by the Children of the Green 
Coat and Grey Coat Hospitals — and the Children of the Blue Coat 
School, who attended for that purpose. 

The procession moved in the same Order to the Burying 
Ground, escorted by a party of the Association, and followed by 
the Westminster Cavalry dismounted (of which the deceased was 
Adjutant and Secretary) with all the customary Forms and Solem- 
nity, usual on such Occasions, his Horse being arrayed in Black, 
The whole was closed bv 

A past-church-ivarden in trouble. 147 

Major Elliot. 
Commander of the Westminster Cavalry, a Party of whom fired 
three Vollies over the Grave, with their pistols, which concluded 
the awfull ceremony— after which the Vestiymen returned to the 
Church in the same order, followed by the Ca\alry. 

The Gentleman's Magazine of the time notes that the 
deceased was "joiner to his Majesty's Board of Works," and 
that the funeral was conducted with great mihtary pomp. 

Mr. James Hunt, churchwarden in 1831 and 1832, was 
the donor, in conjunction with his brother, the late Sir 
Henry Hunt, of the coloured glass windows, and the font 
(see page $g). His colleague in office in 1832 was Mr. 
William Evans, whose active interest in public life led to 
his election as Sheriff of London and Middlesex shortly 
afterwards. The responsibilities of this office, and his 
determination to discharge its duties conscientiously, w^hile 
they brought upon him an unenviable notoriety, elicited the 
warmest sympathies of his fellow parishioners. 

In 1837 an action was brought by John Joseph Stockdale 
against Messrs. Hansard for the recovery of ;^50,ooo 
damages for the publication of certain parliamentary 
papers. The defendants petitioned Parliament for its pro- 
tection, upon which two resolutions were passed. The first 
declared that the power of publishing such of the reports 
ol" the House as .should be deemed necessary or conducive 
to the public interest, was an essential incident to the con- 
stitutional functions of Parliament ; the second avowed that 
the prosecution of any suit for the purpose of bringing the 
privileges of the House before any court or tribunal else- 
where than in Parliament, was a high breach of such 
privilege, and rendered all parties concerned amenable to 
its just displeasure, and to the punishment consequent 
thereon. The proceedings were thereupon stayed ; but 
they were revived, with some alteration of form, as an action 
for libel in the Court of Queen's Bench, in 1839. In 
November of that year a writ of enquiry was directed to 
the Sheriffs, the under sheriffs and the deputy under-sheriff, 

K 2 

148 77?^ Parish Officers. 

whose attention was, at the same time called to the resolu- 
tions of the House. The sheriffs thereupon made an 
application to the Court to enlarge the return to the writ 
until after the meeting of Parliament; but Mr. Justice 
Littledale refused to make any order. Having no alter- 
native left them, the sheriffs empanelled a jury, by whom 
damages were assessed at ^600. Still hesitating to move 
between the two fires, the sheriffs made no return to the 
writ until the plaintiff obtained a rule from the Queen's 
Bench compelling them to do so. This was followed by the 
plaintiff lodging with the sheriffs a writ of fieri facias, in 
pursuance of which the sheriffs' officers entered upon Messrs. 
Hansards' premises and sold goods and chattels by auction 
to the amount of ^^695. The defendants being unable to 
prevent the sale, applied for an injunction to restrain the 
sheriffs from parting with the proceeds to the plaintiff, 
while the plaintiff proceeded against them by judge's sum- 
mons and eventually by an application for a rule in the 
Court of Queen's Bench to compel them to deliver to him 
the proceeds of the sale. Parliament having met by this 
time, the defendants presented a petition setting forth all 
the circumstances. The House thereupon ordered Stock- 
dale, the sheriffs, the under sheriffs, their deputy, and the 
other officers concerned, to attend at the Bar of the House. 
Stockdale was found to have been guilty of high contempt 
and of breach of privilege, and was committed to the cus- 
tody of the Sergeant at Arms. In the examination of the 
sheriffs and their assistants, which extended over several 
days, Mr. Sheriff Evans declared that " if in the exe- 
cution of their painful duty they had done anything 
which had incurred the displeasure of the House, they 
deeply deplored it." On 21st January, 1840, they were 
ordered to restore to Messrs. Hansards the sum received 
at the sale, and a protracted debate, which was adjourned, 
took place on a motion to commit the sheriffs and their 
assistants for contempt and breach of privilege. On the 

^^ Let Die be privileged by my place" 149 

next day a petition was presented by the sheriffs expressing 
" sorrow and concern at having incurred the displeasure of 
the House, and praying that they might not be annexed of 
their moneys or imprisoned in their persons for having 
honestly and fairly acted in discharge of a duty cast upon 
them by law, according to the best of their ability and 
judgment, and to what in their consciences they believed to 
be the solemn application of their oaths." Eventually, by 
a majority of loi on a division, the finding of the House 
was against the sheriffs, and they were forthwith committed 
to the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms. The plaintiff, 
still relentless, resorted to an extraordinary expedient upon 
the Order of the House being carried into effect. Three 
days only having elapsed, the Sergeant-at-Arms reported 
that he -had been served with a writ, directing him to 
produce the bodies of the sheriffs in the Court of Queen's 
Bench. Thereupon the House ordered that the Sergeant- 
at-Arms make a return of the circumstances under which 
he held the bodies of the sheriffs, and the plaintiff found 
himself not only overpowered, but committed to Newgate 
for a high contempt and breach of privilege — a precisely 
similar offence to that for which the sheriffs stood com- 
mitted, with the additional ignominy and discomfort of 
confinement in the common gaol. Taking leave of Mr. 
Stockdale thus securely provided for, we return to West- 
minster to find a motion made on 4th February, 1840, for 
the release of the parliamentary prisoners. The question 
was negatived, however, by 132 to 34. On 12th February, 
the House was informed that Mr. Wheelton, Mr. Evans's 
co-sheriff, was extremely ill. His medical man having 
attended at the Bar of the House, by order, and deposed 
that his patient was so dangerously ill that he would not 
answer for his life from hour to hour, the House granted 
Mr. .Wheelton's release. Mr. Sheriff-churchwarden Evans 
thus became left in the solitude in which he is depicted in 
the engraving on the churchwardens' snuff box, as repro- 

150 The Parish Officers. 

duccd at page 177. On the 25th February an appeal was 
made to Parliament for leave for Mr. Sheriff Evans to quit 
his confinement temporarily for the purpose of joining his 
colleagues in presenting an address to Her Majesty, H.R.H. 
the Duchess of Kent and H.R.H. the Prince Albert on the 
approaching Royal marriage ; but the permission was with- 
held. On 3rd March, however, Viscount Mahon informed 
the House that our churchwarden's health was materially 
suffering from his continued confinement. His medical 
attendant, Dr. Freeman, was thereupon ordered to attend 
at the Bar of the House for examination. An independent 
medical gentleman. Dr. Chalmers, was also ordered to 
examine the prisoner, and to attend at the Bar with his 
report ; but the only action upon the statements of these 
gentlemen, was to have their evidence printed ! Three days 
later, after a prolonged and contentious debate, Mr. Evans 
was discharged " for the present," with an order to attend 
again on the 6th April. Although he complied with that 
order, his discharge was not finally granted until the 6th 
May. After such aii experience of the responsibilities of 
civic offices, it is not surprising that Mr. Evans sought no 
further advancement. He appears to have resigned all his 
public positions, and to have confined his attention more 
closely to the extensive distillery which to-day bears the 
name of Seager tLvans and Co., of Grosvenor-road and 
Millbank. In this connection it may be convenient to 
mention that Sir P'rederick Seager Hunt, M.P., who was 
churchwarden in 1868 and 1869, is a successor to Mr. 
Evan's business. The son of Mr. James Hunt, whose 
active interest in the affairs of the parish and the church 
have already been noticed, he has in many ways given 
practical proof of the thoroughness with which he has in- 
herited his father's sympathies in that respect. He was 
re-elected in July last to represent Marylebone in Par- 

The next churchwarden to be noticed also achieved a 

" The Mayor of London conies to greet yon!' \ 5 i 

public prominence far beyond the limits of the parish, 
though in a much more pleasant manner than did Mr. 
Evans. John Johnson, a proprietor of the premises now 
occupied by Messrs. Mowlem, at Millbank, succeeded, in 
conjunction with his brother, to his father's business, as a 
paviour and contractor for large public works. In the same 
conjunction he inherited a large fortune, the result of the 
father's speculation in a stone quarry in Devonshire, from 
which the " Haytor " granite was obtained. He also carried 
out the contract for the celebrated breakwater at Plymouth 
which, with other profitable speculations, placed him at the 
head of the stone trade. In the midst of his active atten- 
tion to his extensive business, he found time to bear his 
share in the local administration, being elected a vestry- 
man in 1 8 17, and subsequently chosen as a governor and 
director of the poor. In 1835 he was appointed church- 
warden. His conspicuous business capabilities had by 
this time fixed the attention of his fellow citizens upon 
him, and in 1836 he was called upon to fill the ofifice of 
Sheriff of London and Middlesex. In 1839 he was called 
to the Aldermanic gown for the Ward of Dowgate, and in 
1845 he was elected, after an exciting contest, to fill the 
civic chair. Wild expressions of disapprobation on the one 
hand, and enthusiastic cheering on the other, greeted the 
declaration of the result. In the interval which preceded 
Lord Mayor's Day, the opposition had subsided, so that on 
the lOth November, 1845 (the 9th falling on a Sunday), the 
procession to Westminster, favoured by fine weather, and 
unmarred by a discordant voice, was in every way a great 
success. Conspicuous positions were assigned in the 
pageant to the Worshipful Company of Distillers, to the 
arms of Mr. Sheriff Evans, and to the arms of the chaplain 
to the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, the Rev. 
John Jennings, Rector of St. John the Evangelist. Vast 
crowds gathered along the line of route to the place of 
embarkation at Blackfriars, where, ill addition to the State 

152 71ic ParisJi Officers. 

and City barges, an enormous number of small boats, 
crowded with passengers, was afloat. 

Arri\ed and landed at Westminster, the Recorder, in 
presenting the Lord Mayor Elect to be sworn, recapitu- 
lated the many public offices Alderman Johnson had held, 
and attributed his present high station to the efficient 
manner in which he had filled them. " Mr. Johnson," con- 
tinued the Recorder, " had undertaken and executed many 
very great and national works in the construction of 
bridges, in the formation and improvement of the dock- 
yards of the country, and, above all, in the erection of 
that effectual bulwark and barrier against the violence 
of the ocean, the stupendous structure — the Plymouth 
Breakwater. It would be alien to the singleness and 
sincerity of Mr. Johnson's character were he to arrogate 
to himself the undivided merit of these amongst the noblest 
and most useful undertakings and efforts of modern times. 
Mr. Johnson, on the contrary, rejoiced to have had the oppor- 
tunity of acting under the superintendence, and to have been 
stimulated by the example, genius, and spirit of enterprise, 
of the late Sir John Rennie ; and Mr. Johnson at the same 
time equally disclaimed the praise of being the sole orginator 
and architect of his present ample fortune. He acknow- 
ledged with feelings of deep gratitude and reverence that 
the foundation of his fortune had been laid by, and had had 
its origin in, the ability, integrity, and industry, of his fore- 
fathers ; whilst in raising and in attempting to carry on 
upon that foundation a superstructure worthy of those who 
had preceded him, his efforts had been as honourable as 
their success had been complete. To avail himself of every 
opportunity of public usefulness had been the leading 
characteristic of Mr. Johnson's life. During his shrievalty 
the defective accommodation of the great metropolitan 
prison had, in a great measure, been remedied by the im- 
portant improvements which had been planned and effected 
by that gentleman in the internal arrangements of the 

" TJie proud scene zvas o'er." l 5 

gaol. For these and other valuable services Mr. Johnson 
had been greeted on his retirement from the office of sheriff 
with the unanimous thanks of the livery, and he had, more- 
over, received, in token of those services, a valuable piece of 
plate from the Corporation of the City of London itself 
As a magistrate, Mr. Johnson had been exact and inde- 
fatigable in his attendance, and in the performance of all 
his duties ; and he now entered upon the new and arduous 
office of Lord Ma}'or, fully impressed with the responsibility 
it imposed, and with all and every honourable feeling of 
ambition to fulfil to the utmost of his power all its require- 

Having followed our churchwarden to the attainment of 
the highest position in the gift of his fellow-citizens, and 
given this sketch of his public career, we must leave him to 
return to the Guildhall amid renewed demonstrations of the 
satisfaction with which he had been received at the com- 
mencement of his procession. 

" Pomps without guilt, of bloodless swords and maces, 
Glad chains, warm furs, broad banners and broad faces ; 
Now night descending, the proud scene was o'er, 
But lived in Settle's * numbers one day more. 
Now mayors and shrieves, all hushed and satiate lay 
Yet ate, in dreams, the custard of the day." 


Alderman Johnson died on 30th December, 1848, and 
was interred in St. John's Burial Ground, where a plain flat 
gravestone, graven ^ith the simple letters " Aid" J. J. 
December 30, 1848," overshadows all the pomp and circum- 
stance of his position, and tells how " death called him to 
the crowd of common men" in the 57th year of his age.-f- 

* Settle was the last City Poet. His office was to compose yearly panegyrics 
upon the Lord Mayors, and verses to he spoken in the pageants. 

t In collecting the foregoing particulars, two other Aldermen of the same 
surname have heen met with : — 

Sir John Johnson, Knight, died 1698, aged 59 and interred in the Church of St. 

Vedast, Foster Lane. 
Thomas' Johnson, of the Worshipful Company of Coopers, Alderman of Portsoken 
Ward in 1840. The Ward Return of his election was rejected three times ; hut he 
was ultimately chosen by the Court. He resigned in 1844. (Citizens 0/ London 
and their Rulers. By B. B. Orrid^c, 1S67). 

154 T^ii^ Pc^rish Officers. 

In 1853 a larger and more pretentious monument, in 
granite, was placed in the burial ground. It lies near the 
Page-street gate, and is inscribed : — 

To the Memory of 
John Johnson and Catherine 

His wife and of their Son 

John Johnson late Alderman 

of the City of London. 

The first died January 30, 1829 
in the 70th year of his age. 

The second — March 27, 1846, 
in the 83'"'^' year of her age. 

Their Son the Alderman^ 

December 30, 1848, in the 57'h 

year of his age. 

Inscribed by William Johnson their surviving son impressed with 
a vivid recollection of their ever warm parental care, and in 
grateful remembrance of his brother's unremitting kindness. 
A.D. 1853. 

Imperfect as this reference to some of the more prominent 
names in the long roll of churchwardens must necessarily 
be, It would be inexcusable to pass over one whose de- 
votedness to all that pertained to the best interests of the 
parish is yet fresh in the recollection of many who esteemed 
it a privilege to be associated with him. Mr. Taverner John 
Miller, of Millbank-street, brought honour to the office of 
churchwarden in 1840, 1 841, and 1855. Among the other 
parts he bore in the parochial arena may be mentioned the 
Board of Governors of the Green Coat School, of which he 
was Treasurer, and the Westminster District Board of 
Works, by whom he was elected a member of the Metro- 
politan Board of Works. He was also one of the most 
constant attendants at the Bench of Magistrates for the St. 
Margaret's Division, in which the parish of St. John the 
Evangelist is included. In 1852 he was returned, in conjunc- 
tion with the late Mr. Du Cane (afterwards Sir Charles Du 
Cane, K.C.M.G.), to represent Maldon in Parliament. In 
1857 ^'Ii'- Miller was elected for Colchester, as successor to 

Mr. Churchwarden T.J. Milln; M.P., J.P. 155 

Lord John Manners, now Duke of Rutland. Early in 1867 
failing health induced him to resign his seat in the House 
of Commons, and to relinquish his connection with the 
Metropolitan Board of Works ; and in March of that year 
death closed a public career which had been remarkable for 
its activity, and as distinguished for the keen sense of 
honour dictating every action, as for the unfaltering and ab- 
solute confidence reposed in him from the first by his 
various constituents. In acknowledging the vote of the 
Vestry carrying with it the customary present of a Prayer 
Book as a memento of his term of office, Mr. Miller wrote:— 

Dorset Wharf, 
' Tth Febry.., 1843. 
My dr Sir, . 

Perceiving that a Meeting is to be held on Thursday 
next, I avail myself of this, the earliest opportunity which has 
offered itself, to request that )'ou will be kind enough to convey to 
the gentlemen of the Vestry of St. John's my warmest thanks for 
their handsome present of a Prayer Book which they have been 
pleased to forward to me through you. 

It will be a source of pride and pleasure to me to retain such a 
token of their approbation of my humble sei-vices during the two 
years that I held the office of Churchwarden, and I shall also esteem 
it as a lasting testimony to the kindness and liberality of the 
Vestry, to which I shall ever consider I owe so valuable a memento, 
rather than to any merits of my own. 

To you, individually, permit me to express my gratitude for the 
handsome manner in which you carried into effect the Vestry's 
Resolution, and particularly for your happy choice of a day so 
much dedicated by the sincerest friends to the interchange of 
friendship's ofiferings, 

And believe me, 

My dr Sir, 
Jainies Howell, Esq., Very truly yours. 

Churchwarden. ' T. /. MILLER. 

Before taking teave of the churchwardens, we are invited 
to view the interesting memento of office to which those 
who served between 1801 and 1844 were subscribers, and 
which has since been transferred from time to time to the 
custody of the senior churchwarden. It consists of a 
circular snuff-box in common horn, to which was added 

156 TJic Paris J I Officers. 

silver ornaments and cases by the office-bearers in the 
above period, in imitation of the more ancient and pre- 
tentious ' Tobacco Box ' of the Past Overseers' Society. 

The original horn box, with its silver rims and plates °=- '^'"'•f 

weighs ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 5 5 

The first case (solid silver) with 'liner' or double lid, 

and medallions ... ... ... ... ... 10 17 

The second circular case, solid silver ... ... ... 8 g 

The third (octagon) case, partly covered in silver, with 

hinged lid ... ... ... ... ... ... 817 

The fourth (octagon) case, covered in silver, with beads 

or mouldings, and hinged lid ... ... ... 22 18 

Total weight of the box and four cases ... 56 6 

The necessity for a more detailed description is dispensed 
with by the presentation of fac simile reproductions, in the 
exact size, of the several boxes, engravings and inscriptions. 





The Gift of 



(j77 ^ 

loBer^&e Vestry of 

^ } S^Jolta the Evangelist 


i? weMemhers mere of 




\The outside of the horn cover. The circular inscription is on the 
silver rim : that in the centre is on the horn?^ 


Tlic St. JoJiiis Snuff Box. 

\Silver linmg affix e^d to inside of No. z.] 

The St. JoJitis Snuff Box. 


\Bottom of the original horn dox, outside.. The stippled part 
represetits the uncovered horn.\ 


The St. Joluis Snuf Box. 



\E,ngravi7igs on side of first case, with raised medalliotis separating 

same. 1 

The St. Johiis Snuff Box. 


{Silver cover to first case enclosing original t>ox : outside.'] 

1 62 

Ihe St. John's Snuf Box 

\_In-side of N'o. 5.] 

The St. John's Snuff Box. 



\Bottom of first case ; out-side. (Inside not engraved)^ 

L 2 


TJic St. Johns Snuff' Box, 


^^jL/ri €(>77vm€/?7'LOT'atwn c?^/itJna/vin^y^€eyn -T^e^tz/m^ 

(mjAc 25'^o/^^JCt.u /8O7 



^^JilTCHlNS t 



[Afo7'ea/>/e Liner in first case : engraved one side on/y.^ 

'I he St. JoJuis Snuff Box. 



\Cover of second case : outside ; raised i/iedallio/i.^ 

Tlie St. JoJins Snuff Box. 



M^n€r/m/ c{?n^e. 

'azte^?^c€^ av^tpu^/xpk^ y/ney 

f,,^//i^{rn^ o/^ '^j^ta/ri-ce^ 

a/n^ o97y <tJ(u/7/ 

t / (' 




c^ j(enA€//7Jimy 

Churcliwar d en> 

\_Boito/n of second case; outsiie'\ 

The St. Johns Snuff Box. 




iTT" /?t 

(^n^lyyi>AaMty^u/e/?^/X/ny </(9^o, 



v<JcyuAe€t/yC^u^ci^uic> y/n^^ /do 


[Inside of No. p.] 


1 68 



TJic St. JoJuis Snnf Box. 

^^'me/ijy 6%uf^/iy yfarc/e^t/ 



(l€^:2sf r/sa 



^ Cnu?'€Aw€i?'€l&ro 



ei^ PL A TE a^r/er/ 

H, Jackson Church Warden. 


\Six small silvei- plates on sides of third (octagon) case.\ 


The St. Johns Snuff Box. 



(one Artv//na a/ yl^t77j/ia.i^/t/ ^^ut^ 

MAY PT 1844. COST X463. 8. 5. 

Qthe iron railing^' 
(;^tre^s__& shrubs^ 

c/^^on/?t^ Mi^^'u^/ CfUH^^v AMTt/ew 



\Four small plates on sides of third (octagon) case. Six small 
spaces, and the bottom of this case are covered in shagreen.] 



The St. Johns Snuff Box. 



ffffe Aa,iur?y, a,' ./\^7U/ia^Uy/?y £^x^^ 

MAY PT 1844. COST X463. 8. 5. 



j^/onmj /a^^^tca/ cM€^it/nc /Jlan/^^ 


YFonr small phites on sides of third (octagon) case. Six small 
spaces, and the bottom of this case are covered in shagreen.] 

The St. John's Snuff Box 

\Outside of hinged cover- on third t 

The St. Johns Smiff Box. 


[Top of hinged cover of fourth case?\ 

TJie St. JoJuis Snuff Box. 



1834. Cbutr]^inarint;^.1835. 

THE Houses of 


Destrx)yed by Fire, 

^6f October; ^834^. 

Jonathan Salter, 

1835, Cl|ittrrl2,Ui«ri>rtt$, 1836. 

The Bounds 
OF THE United Fatushes 

\Platcs and moulditig on sides of fourth (octagon) case. 

The St. Jolms Snuff Box. 
1 6. 

[Top of hinged cover of fourlh ease?^ 

Tlie St. Johns Snuff' Box. 



. i 

1834. €hxxtck^mibm0,l^35. 

THE Houses of 


Destroyed by Fire, 

-iO't October; ^8M^. 

Jonathan Sawyee, 

1835. Clj^ttrrl|hi«r^nt$. 1836. 

The Bounds 
OF THE United Parishes 

\Plates a7id viouldi7ig on sides of fourth (octagon) case. 


The St. JoJnis Snuff Box. 

1 8. 

J©MN Johnson, 
1836, Qnjittrrl^htardntg.1837 

Elected Sheriff of London. 


John Ancjus W^ilmi sixr, 
1(S37. (iTIittrdtUiarbctt^j.lSSS, 

i f '^ 

S'^ Marys Church 

Vincent Square, 


\Platcs and moulding on sides of fourth (octagon) case. 

The St. Joluis Snuff Box. 

1838 m\\\xs\>^^hOM^\^2>d. 

KM Queen Victoria, 

At WestminsterAbbey. 

ZSfJu^ne JS38. 



m:^9. (fl;]^ttrrlThrztri>m^.l840. 

The Duchess of Somer sets 

Annual Bequest Restored 

AND Shared by the Poor 

OF S'^ Margaret & S'^ Johns 


[F/a/cs and moulding on sides of fourth (octagon) case.'] 


Tlie St. Johns Snuff Box. 


1 840. (IIInuTl^to^h^^.1841 . 

H.M.QuEEN Victoria. 

RRH Princess Royal. 

born Nov^2i1?iM0. 

1841. aI%trd^bTariim^.l842. 


Albert Prince of Wales, 


[^Plates and mouldings on sides of fourth (octagon) case J 





The St. Johns Snuff Box. 


H.M.QuEEN YicTomA. 


Feb'y J01''JS40. 

HRJf Princess Royal. 

'born Nov^ Zil^'iS^O. 

1841, m^A^^xliM\Ml. 


Albert Prince of Wales, 

horn. glNov^. 1841 

[Plates and ?nouldings on sides of fourth (octagon) case ] 

The St. John's Snnff Box. 

'Sheriff of London aind Middlesex 

1839. 1840. 



\ Bottom of fourth or outer case ; outsiWe.] 

An absconding treasurer. 179 

In the list of churchwardens from which we have just 
turned are the names of those who bore other important 
offices in the parish. Before the facilities offered by local 
banking houses had extended to Westminster, the parish 
revenues were entrusted to one of the principal inhabitants, 
either a resident Justice of the Peace or a substantial business 
man, equally accessible and in constant touch with the paro- 
chial administration. Upon this 'high officer' would devolve 
the keeping of the accounts and the cash relating to pew 
rents, the burial fees, the Rector's rate, the poor rate, and 
the general receipts and expenditure of the parish. 
Although the labour and responsibility attaching to the 
position of parish treasurer were considerable, there was 
little scope for any such officer to distinguish himself; and 
although the position was not altogether thankless, the 
annual recognition of the services by a vote of thanks for 
the care and attention with which the accounts had been 
kept assumed almost a stereotyped form. For a hundred 
years — the account was not permanently transferred to a 
banker until 1830— only one exception to the customary 
form of acknowledgment is recorded. This occurred in 
1815, when the treasurer, having ;^863 of parish cash in 
his hands, absconded. An " extent " was issued against his 
estate for ^41,000, his assets being estimated at iJ"io,ooo. 
An account was thereupon opened at the Bank of England ; 
but the inconvenience was such as to lead to a return to 
the former system within a few months, when the gentle- 
man who accepted the office volunteered personal security. 

A brief notice must now be accorded to the overseers 
who, at the time the parish was formed, were in the zenith 
of their power, and the personification of all that is now 
conveyed by the phrase ' the parish.' Upon these public 
spirited and zealous citizens devolved the onerous and 
arduous duties performed by the relieving officers employed 
by the Board of Guardians in the present day.* The rates 

* An essay tracing the changes in the duties of Overseers from 1535, when 
the office was instituted, to the present time, was incorporated in the book 
published on " The Westminster Tobacco Box," in 1887. 

i8o TJie Parish Officers. 

made, the defaulters summoned, the distraints levied nowa- 
days by ' the parish,' were in a great measure controlled by 
the Overseers. The destitute poor, clamouring for relief, 
the sick poor needing medical treatment, the aead 
lying unburied from want of means, the orphan requiring 
protection or to be ' boarded out,' or the lunatic endanger- 
ing himself and others until placed under restraint, all 
occasioned applications to the Overseers as they do now to 
' the parish.' The ear of these officers had always to be 
open to the cry of distressed women and hungry children, 
their eye had to be quick to detect the impostor, and their 
hand ever ready to relieve the wayworn and penniless 
traveller ; while their share in the management of the 
workhouse, the apprenticeship of children, the dispensing 
of relief, and the removal of paupers to their places of legal 
" settlement," necessitated attendances at meetings, and 
made such demands upon their time as only men of con- 
siderable leisure could afford : — 

His house was known to all the vagrant train, 
He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain. 

The ruined spend-thrift, now no longer proud. 
Claimed kindred there, and had his claim allowed. 

Nearly all the statutes, from the Reformation period to 
the present time, provide for the imposition of penalties 
upon the bearers of the office in case of neglect, default, or 
malversation ; yet the records of this parish do not contain 
a single entry of any such penalty having been imposed. 
There are numerous entries, however, of sums forfeited by 
those nominated, but declining to serve the office. The 
penalty, which was £\2 in each case, was credited to the 
parish funds. A writer in Notes and Queries (8th. S. ii. p. 
117) refers to a ballad, entitled " The Overseer," in vogue 
some forty years ago, consisting of half-a-dozen verses in 
the following strain : — 

Some people are alwaj's contending 
The times are so bad they want mending, 
And boast of the good they're intending 
If they could but in office appear. 

" No great matter in the ditty!' i8i 

Now to me it ne'er niatter'd one pin 
Who was out of office or in, 
For my part I felt quite ' don't carish,' 
For I found things went on pretty farish, 
Till I'd lived a few years in the parish, 
When they made me an overseer I 

With a chorus to each verse : — 

But if you prefer care and vexation, 
And to work without remuneration, 
You should aim at parochial station, 
And get chosen an overseer. 

A small local newspaper, which had a short-lived circu- 
lation in the parish in 1848, records that the following lines 
were written on the wall of a police cell, by a tramp who 
had been given into custody by the overseers for a breach 
of workhouse discipline : — 

May the great God above, 
In His very kind love. 

Send down lots o' very sharp chissels, 
To cut off the ears 
Of our cruel Overseers, 

What won't give us poor paupers more wittels. 

From 1693 to 1728, the year in which the parish of St. 
John was constituted, the Magistrates had annually 
appointed six overseers for the parish of St. Margaret. 
From 1728 to 1749, they continued the practice without 
distinguishing those appointed in behalf of St. John's. 
From 1750 to 1752 four overseers were appointed for St. 
Margaret's and two for St. John's each year. From 1752 
to 1827 two were appointed annually for St. Margaret's 
and one for St John's ; thenceforward, two were appointed, 
year by year, for each parish. With the exception of a few 
years in respect of which the accounts have not been 
preserved, the following is a complete list of the overseers 
of St. John's parish from 1750 : — 
1 7 50- 1. John Williams Richard Harvey 

175 1-2. George FuUock Joseph Carr 

1752-3. Thomas Clarke Thomas Sherratt 

1753-4. John Ruffe 1754-5- John Niblett 

1755-6. John Niblett 1756-7. Timothy Carter 

1757-8. Timothy Carter 1758-9. (Accounts missing) 



TJie ParisJi Officers. The Overseers. 

1759-60. John Price 


Matthew Nesham 


John Cox 


WilHam Eves 


Robert Conyers, deed. 


Morris Marsault 


(Accounts missing) 


(Accounts missing) 


George Graves 


Charles Clarke 


John Williams 

1 780- 1 

Samuel Harris 


Johnson West 


John Mitchell 


(Accounts missing) 


Samuel Darling 

1 790- 1 

Thomas Green 


Alexander Taylor 

1 794-5 

James Sheppard 


Jonathan Hitchin 


Edward Glanville 

1 800- 1 

Joseph Saunders 


Noah Baber 


Richard Monkhouse 


Henry Frederick Holt 


William Burridge 


I. William Burridge 


3. John Eversfield 


5. Geo. Henry Malme 


7. John Johnson, Junr. 


9. Gabriel Riddle 


. Thomas Mitchell 


. Archibald Michie 


. George Pink 


. Samuel John Noble 


. Jonathan Sawyer 


0. Jonathan Sawyer 

1 830- 1 

. John Alsept 


. James Dike 


. Thomas Arber 


|.. Timothy Thome 


,. Robt. Alex. Warne (deed.) 


uiies Firth, jun., in his place 


). William Cleave ■ 


7. Horace Boys 


]. William Mansell Haydon 


}. William Mansell Haydon 


;o. Alex. Lachlan McBain 

1 760- 1. William Young 
1762-3. William Stratford 
1764-5. Thomas Gayfer 
1766-7. Mathew Wiggins 
George Byfield in his place 
1769-70. (Accounts missing) 
1771-2. Thomas Greenaway 
1773-4. William Ginger 
1775-6. William Weller 
I'JTJ-Z. William Davis 
1779-80. John Vidler 
1 78 1 -2. Robert Reeves 
1783-4. John Gaunt 
1785-6. John Ansell 
1787-8. John Morris 
1789-90. (Accounts missing) 
1791-2 John Price 
1793-4. (Accounts missing) 
1795-6. Grant Harris 
1797-8. Henry Doughty 
1 799- 1 800. Thomas Hewson 
1 801 -2. Matthew Jenkinson 
1803-4. Joseph Wright 
1805-6. Thomas Stapleton 
1807-8. Joseph Lyon 
1809-10. Richard Maskell 
1811-12. James Firth 
18 13- 14. Geo. Henry Malme 
181 5-16. John Simpson 
1817-18. Thomas Aldin 
1819-20. W^illiam Hay ward 
182 1-2. Archibald Michie 
1823-4. George Pink 
1825-6. George Hayden 
1827-8. Francis Richman 
John Pryer 
Francis Painter 
James Dike 
John Alsept 
Thomas Cropp 
Thomas Estell 
William Burridge 

James Thomas Bottomley 

William Dalton 

John Montague 

Alex. Lachlan McBain 

George Burridge 

" 'Tis the list of those that claim their offices T 183 

1 840- 1. 

Benjamin Hudson 

1 84 1 -2. 

Godfree William Ginger 


Adam Dick 


George Estall 


Wm. Richard Gritten 


Thomas Eversfield 


William Woolley 


John Downey 


Edward Grose 


Wm. Henry Hattersley 


Wm. Henry Hattersley 


Robert Boyd 


Robert Boyd 


William Urry 


Henry Stephen Ridley 


George Ray 


Job Cook 


Henry Beecher 


James Howell 


John King Deakin 

1 860- 1. 

Thomas Horn 

1 86 1 -2. 

Henry Potter 


Henry Potter 


Henry Potter 


John Thomas Fenn 


John Thomas Fenn 


Frederick Dowling 


Henry Bingley 


Henry Bingley 


J. W. Tyler 


Samuel Mclntyre 


George Cook 


George Cook 


Wm. John Bennett 


Wm. John Bennett 


James Margrie 


H. N. Bowman Spink 


H. N. Bowman Spink 


Thomas John Tayton 


Thomas John Tayton 

1 880- 1. 

Herman Olsen Hamborg 


Wm. Hy. Baker 


Wm. Hy. Baker 


Wm. Hy. Baker 


Herman Olsen Hamborg 


Herman Olsen Hamborg 


Frederick Rose 


Frederick Rose 

George Tucker 

Andrew Mallock 

George Theophilus Trickett 

Samuel Hemmings 

Joseph Bennett 

William Woolley 

John Downey 

Henry Castle 

William Stamp 

John Norris 

John Norris 

William Urry 

William Urry 

David Mallock 

William Bottrill 

Job Cook 

Henry Beecher 

James Howell 

John King Deakin 

Thomas Horn 

Henry Potter 

William Farmiloe 

John Dalton 

John Thomas Fenn 

Frederick Dowling 

Frederick Dowling 

Henry Bingley 

A. Castle 

A. Castle 

Samuel Mclntyre 

George Cook 

George Adams 

Wm. John Bennett 

Wm. Jopling 

James Margrie 

Harry Nelson Bowman Spink 

Zephaniah Deacon Berry. 

Zephaniah Deacon Berry 

Thomas Holder 

Thomas Holder 

William Henry Baker 

Chas. Christmas Piper 

Chas. Christmas Piper 

Chas. Christmas Piper 

John Hayler 

John Hayler 

Charles Wright 

Charles Wright 

M 2 

184 The Parish Officers. The Overseers. 

1888-9. Frederick Rose Thomas William Davies 

1889-90. Thomas William Davies Zephaniah Augustin Berry 
1890-1. Zephaniah Augustin Berry James Gibson 
1 89 1 -2. James Gibson James Lane (deceased) 

George John Chappie in his place 
1892-3. George John Chappie Henry William Budd 

A comparison of this list, with that of the churchwardens 
(see pp. 135-8), will show that the majority of names appear 
in both lists, an evidence that the fidelity and ability with 
which the duties of the overseership had been discharged, 
obtained in due rotation for the gentlemen who had fulfilled 
those duties, the highest position in the gift of the 
parishioners — that of the churchwardenship. Within the last 
five years, however, non-residence at their business places, 
and consequent absence from town on Sundays, has pre- 
vented the advancement of three past overseers to that 

The overseers appointed by the magistrates for St. John's 
parish, become members of " The Past Overseers' Society 
of St. Margaret and St. John the Evangelist, Westminster," 
an institution without a rival in the metropolis or elsewhere. 
The Society, which had its origin in 171 3, was the means 
of affording the office bearers for the time being the oppor- 
tunity of conferring with the past officers upon questions of 
practice arising in the course of the duties ; but owing to 
the extent to which the more arduous of those duties have 
passed into other hands, under the legislation of the last 
half century, the Society has assumed more exclusively the 
nature of a social institution. To this Society belongs the 
incomparable collection of engraved silver plates, and 
ornaments, mounted on cases of various shapes and sizes, 
and know^n far and wide as " The Westminster Tobacco 


" And from his pocket next he takes 
His shining" horn tobacco box ; 
And, in a light and careless way. 
As men who with their purpose play. 
Upon the lid he knocks." 


Their " shining Jiorn tobacco-boxP 185 

When it is stated that the pubHcation of the engrav- 
ings, with some historical notes on the office and on the 
Society, undertaken by the Overseers for 1887-8 (4to., 
106 pp.) cost ^294, it will be seen that the reproduction 
either of the plates or the letter-press herewith is as effectu- 
ally prohibited by want of space as by cost. Mr. Frederick 
Rose, 'the custodian of the Box' in 1886-7, gave an exhibi- 
tion of it to a large and fashionable circle by invitation, 
and prepared for the information of his guests a description 
which, from its conciseness, may fittingly find a place here. 
Mr. Rose says : — 

" So much interest attaches to what is generally known as the 
' Westminster Tobacco Box,' that a volume rather than a paragraph 
would be required to relate its history or to describe its ornaments. 

" To tell its story as briefly as possible it may be said that at the end 
of the seventeenth and commencement of the eighteenth centuries, 
when the duties of the Overseers included the administration of relief 
to the poor, and other matters now devolving upon paid ' Relieving 
Officers,' it was customary for the Overseers for the time being to 
meet their predecessors in office at one of the principal taverns in the 
parish to ' compare notes,' to confer on parochial matters generally, 
and to ' drown their cares in a cloud of smoke.' The mutual profit 
and the pleasant intercourse afforded by these meetings resulted in the 
formation of the ' Past Overseers' Society,' to whom was presented, 
in 17 13, by Henry Monck, one of their number, a horn tobacco box, 
of about three-ounce capacity, which was said to have been bought at 
Horn Fair, Plumstead, for the modest price of fourpence. In recogni- 
tion of the gift, the recipients decorated it with a rim of silver, bearing 
the donor's name. On the appointment of new Overseers the custody 
of the box was entrusted to the senior member of their body, who, with 
his colleagues, placed an inscribed silver ornament on the lid. The 
Overseers for the next year affixed a band of silver on the sides ; 
others, in their turn, added further plates, until the box was entirely 
covered with engraved silver. An outer case was then found neces- 
sary, and gradually became enclosed in silver in like manner, each 
body of Overseers adding some ornament during their )'ear of office. 
This case in its turn was enclosed in another, oval in form like the 
original box, and so with a third case, octagon in shape, having a 
double lid to admit more plates, and a fourth, round, with a magnifi- 
cent embossed cover, which in the course of years found itself deposited 
in a fifth case, octagon in shape, with a hinged door, hidden inside and 
out by silver plates. This is some eighteen inches in height, and about 
fifteen years ago was provided with a pedestal and cover in oak, cap- 
able of bearing some forty or more plates, many of the spaces being 

1 86 TJic ParisJi Officers. The Overseers. 

already occupied. In addition to the names of the Overseers for the 
year, most of these plates record, and some illustrate, the principal 
national and local events of the year. The additions of a hundred and 
seventy-three years have increased the dimensions of the 'box' from 
about three inches by five, to about twenty-four inches across by thirty 
inches high ; in weight it has grown from a few ounces to rather over 
a hundred pounds, while the ' compound interest ' of the original four- 
pence is simply incalculable — for notwithstanding the great intrinsic 
value of the silver, neither the records nor the engravings could be re- 
placed. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Past Overseers' 
Society regard the preservation of the ' box ' with great anxiety, — a 
care which its history fully justifies, for in 1785, when the value was 
much less than now, the melting-pot had been prepared for its recep- 
tion by burglars, who, on seeking it in the house of Mr. Gilbert, the 
Overseer in possession, were fortunately disappointed of their spoil, 
through its having been securely placed out of reach.* This escape was 
shortly followed by jeopardy of another kind. In 1793 the box passed 
in the ordinary way to the custody of Mr. Overseer James Read, whose 
accounts the Vestry subsequently declined to pass. The accounts 
showed a balance due to the accountant, and the refusal to pass them 
was interpreted as an objection to pay Mr. Read that balance. He 
thereupon threatened the destruction of his silver charge, upon which 
a bill in Chancery was filed against him, and an Order of the Court 
made for the delivery of the box in the charge of Master Leeds, pend- 
ing the result of the suit. After three years' suspense. Lord Chancellor 
Loughborough, in finding for the plaintiffs, ordered that the box and 
its cases be restored, — a decision which is the subject of a special 
plate, headed, ' Justice Triumphant ! Fraud defeated ! ! The Box 
Restored ! 1 !' The plaintiffs' costs in the case were ^376 13s. iid. 
of which ^300 was paid by the defendant, the balance, besides the 
cost of the special plate, having been readily subscribed by the 

Having escaped two dangers, ' the box ' was placed in jeopardy 
a third time in 1837, when a fire broke out in the house of Mr. 
Edward Milns, the overseer in charge. Its preservation was due 
to the thoughtfulness of Mrs. Milns, who, while her husband was 
endeavouring to save his books and business papers, rushed to ' the 
box ' just in time to rescue it from destruction. Being then much 
smaller than it is now, Mrs. Milns was able to carry it to a neighbours 
house and place it again in security. 

" Some little ceremony attends the transfer of the treasure from the 
outgoing to the incoming Overseer, which cannot here be detailed ; 
but among the conditions upon which such transfer is made, is one 
' that the box and its cases are to be produced at all parochial enter- 

" To reduce such a risk to a minimum in the future, the Society have re- 
cently arranged, for the safe deposit of the "Box " in a fire-proof strong room, 
where it is now kept under the control of the Overseer in charge. 

'■^ Let us see these omainentsy 187 

tainments .... and to contain three pipes of tobacco at the 
least, under the penalty of six bottles of claret." The transferee is also 
bound under a penalty to restore the box and cases, with some addi- 
tional ornament, when called upon, to which end he has further to give 
two personal sureties in the sum of two hundred guineas each. 

" Of the engravings, it is impossible to name even a tithe here. 
Some display considerable taste in design and skill in execution, others 
less so ; but uniform excellence cannot be e.xpected where the object 
has been transitory for 173 years, and where the custodians for the 
time being have had perfect liberty in the choice alike of subject, 
design, and engraver. The Overseers of 1746-7 were fortunate enough 
to secure a characteristic engraving by the famous Hogarth, who pro- 
duced, with appropriate surroundings, a portrait of H.R.H. the Duke 
of Cumberland, in commemoration of his defeat of the rebels at the 
Battle of Culloden. Another portrait is that of the notorious John 
Wilkes, who served as Churchwarden of St. Margaret's shortly before 
he rose to the dignity of the Civic Chair, and whose signature as a 
Local Justice of the Peace still exists on many a docimient in the 
parish muniment room at the Town Hall. Many of the illustrations 
are worthy of special notice, and will amply repay the closest examina- 
tion : but space forbids further reference here. 

"The Overseers of 1 860-1 were specially honoured in being com- 
manded to exhibit the box and its cases to Her Majesty the Queen, 
who, with H.R.H. Prince Consort, and the Royal Princesses and 
Princes, were very deeply interested, as expressed in a letter filed with 
the books of the Society. In 1877 the treasure was exhibited, at the 
Society of Antiquaries, since which it has been sought out and admired 
by members of other learned societies, as well as by British and 
Foreign Antiquaries, to whom its fame has reached by the notices 
published in various historical and antiquarian books and papers." 

The cost of the plates and ornaments, which is defrayed 
by the private subscriptions of the Overseers for the time 
being, varies according to the size and engraving. The 
outlay on those added in commemoration of the Queen's 
Jubilee in 1887 exceeded ^^50; the average is generally 
about £\2. 

A drawing of the box and its cases, as they appeared in 
1887, before the outer case had been surmounted by the 
statuette of Her Majesty, is reproduced on the next page. 

The Wcstuiitistcr Tobacco Box. 

When displayed in company with the elegant ' Cigar 
Box ' of the St. Margaret's Vestry Club, the smaller, but 
none the less solid ' Snuff Box ' of the St. John's church- 
wardens, and the massive ' Loving Cup ' and dish of the 

The Parish Officers. The rear-guard. 


St. Margaret's Vestry {see p. 1 10), the whole forms a collec- 
tion of silver which may safely claim to be unequalled in 
any other parish. 

Before taking leave of the officers of the parish, we may 
be permitted to pause while the vestry clerks bring up the 
rear. As they are not numerous we may give their names 
and their years of office : — 

Robert Prior 
. George Cleeter ... 
George Cleeter the younger 
William Langley 

Mark Daniel 

John Daniel 

Mark Daniel 

John R. L. Walmisley ... 
John Edward Smith 

1728— 1735 

1735— 1753 
1753— 1763 
1762 — 1795 
1795— 1809 
1809— 1835 
1835— 1841 
1841 — 1891 • 

The parish attorney was rarely called upon to act. His 
principal duty was to draw ' statements of case ' for the 
opinion of counsel learned in the law on doubtful points, 
and in some few instances during the first century of the 
Vestry's existence to instruct counsel in the defence of the 
parochial interests. Of the parish clerk, the sexton, the 
bearers, the searchers, and others holding numerous minor 
offices in the parish — 

"Their ashes undistinguished lie, 
Their place, their power, their memory die." 

1 90 Sclf-govcniment of tJic parish 

Chapter VII. 


" My soul aches 
To know, when two authorities are up, 
Neither supreme, how soon confusion 
May enter 'twixt the gap of both, and take 
The one by the other." - 


" For forms of government let fools contest ; 
Whate'er is best administered is best." 


" The nicest constitutions of government are often like the finest pieces of clock-work 
which, defending on so many motions, are therefore more subject to be out of order." — Poi'E. 

Constitution of the Vestry. — Its duties. — Relations with Vestry of St. 
Margaret's. — Insufficiency of powers. — Condition of streets. — Peti- 
tions to Parhament. — Creation of subsidiary bodies and commissions. 
— Futile adoption of Hobhouse's Act. — The dawn of improvement. 
— The Amendment Act of 1887. — The Library Commissioners. 
The Baths and Wash-houses Commissioners. — The Burial Board. — 
The Watch. — Street lighting. — Introduction of gas. — Wood-paving. 
— Protection against fire. — Tothill Fields Trust. 

T3EFORE the constitution of the parish in 1724 there 
were two local bodies — the Court of Burgesses and 
the Vestry of St. Margaret's — exercising jurisdiction within 
its area. The incorporation of the Court of Burgesses and 
the original constitution of the Vestry, with the respective 
powers and duties of the two bodies, were reviewed some- 
what fully in Local Govo'-nnicnt in JVestuiinster, published 
in 1889. The present retrospect may therefore be limited 
to the parochial administration within the boundaries and 
since the formation of the parish. 

By the Act of 10 Anne, cap. 11, sec. xx., the Commis- 
sioners were authorised " to name a convenient number of 
sufficient inhabitants . . to be vestrymen of such new 

Instrument constituting the Vestry. 191 

parish, who shall have and exercise the like powers and 
authorities for ordering and regulating the affairs of such 
new parish as the vestrymen of the present parish " of St. 
Margaret. In pursuance of that authority an Instrument 
was sealed on 21st February, 1728, of which the following 

is a copy : — 

For appointing a Vestry in the Parish of Saint John the Evangctist^ 

Westminster. — An>to Domini, 1728. 
nnO all Men to whom these Presents shall come, The Most Reverend 
Father in God Wittiain Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, I'rimate 
of all England ^.nd. Metropolitan, The Right Reverend Father in God 
Edmond Lord Bishop of London, The Right Reverend Father in God 
William Lord Bishop of Diirliam, Thomas Lord Bishop oi Ely, Wil- 
liam late Lord Bishop oi Bangor now Lord Bishop of Norwich, John 
Lord Bishop of Carlisle, Edward Lord Bishop of ChicJiester, and Samuel 
Lord Bishop ol Chester, Sir John Phillips Baronet, Sir William Ogborn 
Knight, Martin Blayden,John Conduit, Robert Jacomb, John Ellis, and 
Edward Peek, Esquires, fourteen of the Commissioners (amongst 
others) nominated and appointed by His present Majesty King Geotge 
the Second, by his Letters Patent under the Great Seal of Great 
Britain, bearing date at Westminster the twenty-fourth day oi Noveiii- 
ber in the first year of His said Majesty's Reign, for putting in execution 
the several powers and authorities contained in an Act of Parliament 
made in the ninth year of the reign of Her late Majesty Queen Anne, 
intituled An Act for granting to Her Majesty several duties on Coats, 
for building Fifty new Churches in and about the Cities of London and 
Westminster, and Suburbs thereof, and other purposes therein men- 
tioned j and in one other Act made in the tenth year of the reign of 
Her said late Majesty, for enlarging the time given to the Commis- 
sioners appointed pursuant to the said former Act, and also for giving 
the Commissioners further powers for better effecting the same, and 
for appointing monies for rebuilding the parish Church of Saint Alary 
Woolnoth, in the City oi London ; and in an Act made in the first year 
of the reign of His late Majesty King George the First, intituled An 
Act for making Provision fo> the Ministers of the Fifty new Churches 
which are to be built i7t and about the Cities <?/" London cz//^/ Westmins- 
ter, and Suburbs thereof, and for rebuilding and finishing the Parish 
CJiurcJi cy^ Saint Mary Woolnoth, in the said City of London ; and in 
one other Act made in the fifth year of the reign of His said late 
Majesty, intituled An Act for co?itinuing certain Duties upon Coals 
and Culm, and for establishing certain Funds to raise Money, as well 
to proceed in the building of new Churches as also to complete the 
Supply granted to His Majesty, and to reser^'c the Overplus Monies oj 
the said Duties for the Disposition of Parliament, and for more effec- 
tually sippressing priiiate L.oticries, send greeting : Whereas by an 

192 Self-government of the parish. 

instrument in writing on parchment, under the hands and seals of the 
said Edino)id Lord Bishop of London, John Lord Bishop of Saint 
Asaph, the said /<?//;/ Lord Bishop of Carlisle, the said Sir John Phil- 
lips Baronet, iLnd John Ellis Esquire, five of the said Commissioners, 
bearing date the eighth day oi January which was in the year of our 
Lord one thousand seven hundred and twenty-four, and since inroUed 
in the High Court of Chancery, the said Commissioners, whose hands 
and seals are thereto set and affixed, did, in pursuance of the said 
Acts of Parliament, some or one of them, and of the Letters Patent of 
His said late Majesty King George the First, under the Great Seal of 
Great Britain, bearing date at Westminster the second day of Decem- 
ber in the second year of His said late Majesty's reign ; and by virtue 
of the powers and authorities therein mentioned, declare, direct, and 
appoint, that the new Church situate in Millbank, in the parish of 
Saint Margaret Westminster, in the county of Middlesex, should be, 
and was thereby declared to be, from and for ever after the inrolment 
of the said Instrument, and the consecration of the said Church, made 
a parish Church, and did also, by the said Instrument or Writing, 
direct and appoint that there should be a parish to the said Church, 
and did thereby set out, ascertain, and appoint the limits and bounds, 
district and division of and for such parish to be such and in manner 
as therein are set forth and described : And whereas the Right Reve- 
rend Father in God Samt(el Lord Bishop oi Rochester, Dean of the 
Collegiate Church of Saint Peter in Westminster, and the Chapter of 
the said Church, Ordinary of the place wherein the said new Church 
doth stand, did, on Thursday the twentieth day oijune last past, be- 
fore the date hereof, duly consecrate the said Church, and in the act of 
consecration thereof called the same by the name of the Church of 
Saint John the Evangelist, in the city of Westminster, in the county of 
Middlesex, as by the said Act of the Consecration thereof, remaining 
in the Registry of the Consistory Court, within the peculiar and exempt 
jurisdiction of the said Dean anci Chapter, may appear ; and by the 
means aforesaid, and by force and virtue of the said Acts of Parlia- 
ment, or some or one of them, the said new Church is made and be- 
came a parish Church, and the district allotted for a parish thereto is 
become a new parish, by the name of the Church and Parish of Saint 
John the Evangelist, in the city of Westminster, in the county of 

Now know ye. That the said Commissioners first above named, Five 
or more of them, whose hands and seals are hereto set and affixed, by 
virtue and in pursuance of the powers and authorities given by the 
said Letters Patent of His present Majesty, and the said Acts of 
Parliament, some or one of them, have nominated and elected, by and 
with the consent of the said Dean and Chapter of the Collegiate 
Church of Saint Peter in Westminster, Ordinary of the said place, 
testified by their affixing their common seal to these Presents, do by 
this present Instrument in writing under their hands and seals, 
intended to be inroUed in the said High Court of Chancery, nominate, 


TJie Jirst Vestry. 193 

elect, and appoint the Honourable _/(;i:w^j Bertie Esquire, Sir Richard 
Grosvenor Baronet, Sir Thomas Crosse Baronet, John Cross Esquire, 
Richard Farwell Esquire, John Llowndes Esquire, Francis Sorrel 
Esquire, Henry Trent Esquire, Brigadier IVatkins, Colonel Joseph 
Ferrers, Philip Monson Esquire, William Young Esquire, John Sayer 
Esquire, George Wright Esquire, Nicholas Haivksmore Esquire, 
Edmond Ball Gentleman, Michael Askew Gentleman, Andrew 
Parsons Gentleman, Robert Crosse Gentleman, Robert White Gentle- 
man, Vincent Bourne Gentleman, Edmund Fitzgerald Gentleman 
Robert Webber Gentleman, Emery Arguis Gentleman, George Mor- 
timer Gentleman, Thomas Wisdom Gentleman, Captain John Rusden, 
Thomas Hammond Gentleman, William French Woodmonger, 
Thomas Churchill Bricklayer, John Mackereth Lime Merchant, 
William Tuffncll Bricklayer, William Paul Brewer, William Eyres 
Carpenter, Robert Churchill Mason, Joh)t Bacchus Carpenter, Matthew 
Fisher Oilman, Roger Jackson Brewer, Robert Walrond Timber Mer- 
chant, John JVillis Carpenter, John Smallwell Joiner, Benjamin 
Barker Bookseller, Samuel Harvey Farmer, and Thomas Hipsley 
Bricklayer, and the Minister and Churchwardens of the said parish 
and parish church for the time being, (being sufficient inhabitants of 
the said new parish, and a convenient number of the same) to be 
Vestrymen of and for the said new parish of Saint John the Evan- 
gelist, and do appoint that the number of persons whereof the said 
Vestry shall consist, shall not any time exceed forty-four, besides the 
Rector and Churchwardens for the time being, who shall be always of 
the said Vestry during their continuance in such office respectively. 
In witness whereof the said Commissioners first above named, five or 
more of them, have hereunto set their hands and seals ; and the said 
Dean and Chapter of the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter in West- 
minster in testimony of their consent above mentioned, have hereunto 
caused to be affixed their common seal, this twenty-first day of 
February, in the second year of the reign of His Majesty George the 
Second, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the 
Faith, &c. Annoq. Dom. One thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight. 

SamI (l. s.) Cestriens. 
Edm^ (l. .s.) London. 
W. (l. s.) Duresme. 
Edward (l. s.) Chichester. 
Jo. (l. s.) Carlisle. 
Sam' (l. s.) Roffen. 

Sealed and delivered by the within 

named Samuel Lord Bishop of 

Chester, Edmond Lord Bishop of 

London, Johft Lord Bishop of 

Carlisle, William Lord Bishop of 

Durham, and Edward Lord Bishop 

oi Chichestef . In the presence of Jenkin Thomas Phillips 

Secretary to the said Commissioners. 

Inrolled in the High Court of Chancery, 1728. 

194 Self-govei-tuiicnt of (Jic parisJi. 

Thus constituted, the Vestry met for the first time on 
iith March, 1728, when Dr. Gee, Dean of Lincoln, curate 
of St. Margaret's, and officiating rector of the new parish, 
presided over an attendance of thirty-seven members. At 
this and several subsequent meetings, the appointment of 
the church servants, the letting of pews, the settlement of 
a table of rents for the same, and other business connected 
with the affairs of the church occupied the principal portion 
of the time. The attention given to this department of 
their duty, as also to the burial ground and the election of 
churchwardens, has already been touched upon in the 
chapters assigned to those subjects, and need not therefore 
be further referred to here. 

In relation to the important duties connected with the 
levying of rates for the church, the poor, the highways, the 
appointment and regulation of the watch, and other pur- 
poses, the Vestry were required to co-operate with their 
neighbours of St. Margaret's, the steps prescribed by sec. 
xxii. of the 10 Annae, cap. II., for " the effectual and per- 
petual division of the parishes " in this respect never having 
been taken. Independence was, however, reserved to, and 
exercised by the Vestry of St. John in dealing with the 
rate for the maintenance of the rector, as also with the 
nomination of surveyors of highways and a number of mis- 
cellaneous matters. 

In consequence of the rate for the repair and maintenance 
of either of the parish churches being leviable throughout the 
two parishes, a vigilant watch was exercised by each Vestry 
upon the proceedings of the other in this respect. In May, 
1734, the Vestry of St. John's felt called upon to remon- 
strate with their neighbours against a resolution for " the 
pulling down and rebuilding of the steeple of the Church of 
St. Margaret," whereby the two parishes were to be involved 
in an expenditure estimated at ^2,200, the remonstrance 
setting forth that the younger Vestry had received no 
notice of the intended outlay, and had not been allowed to 


^'' Full of viQst excellent differencesT 195 

make a survey of the proposed works. The Vestry of St. 
Margaret's thereupon submitted a case for the opinion of 
Sergeant Hawkins and Sergeant Eyre, and subsequently 
suppHed their aggrieved colleagues with a copy. The 
opinions of both counsel were in accord as to the powers of 
the churchwardens and Vestry of St. Margaret's in directing 
the necessary repairs of their church, not being affected by 
the creation of the new parish nor in any way dependent 
upon the concurrence or consent of the Vestry of St. John's ; 
but differed on certain points concerning the raising of the 
funds by means of a rate. Sergeant Hawkins advised "the 
summoning of another meeting of both parishes," and 
Sergeant Eyre was of opinion that the rate could be made 
by the Vestry of St. Margaret " in default of a meeting." 
The Vestry of St. John replied by ' a declaration ' adhering 
to their remonstrance, after which the incident is not men- 
tioned in the records. 

Eight years later, when the Vestry of St. John's were 
perplexed concerning the raising of money to restore the 
church after the destructive fire {see p. 34) they called 
upon the Vestry of St. Margaret's to convene a meeting of 
both bodies " on matters of great consequence to both 
parishes," without more specific particulars. In the absence 
of definite information as to the object of the proposed 
meeting, the senior body declined to act, and when it was 
eventually explained that the intention was to request 
assistance in raising money for the repair of the church, the 
Vestry of the mother parish adopted a via media by pro- 
mising their best co-operation without convening the desired 

In 181 5 the parochial barometer had again fallen to 
" stormy." By an ill-advised and peremptory notice the 
churchwardens of the parish of St. John the Evangelist 
convened a meeting of the two Vestries to be held in the 
Vestry-room of St. Margaret's Church on Easter Tuesday 
of that year, for the purpose inter alia^ of " ascertaining the 

196 " Self-government of the parish!'' 

' monies and rates to be assessed within the Hmits of the 
" said two parishes for the repair of the said (St. John's) 
" Church." 

The Vestry of St. Margaret's passed a resolution directing 
that the customary method of summoning the vestries be 
observed, and that the notice from the St. John's Vestry be 
ignored. At the Easter Tuesday meeting of the two 
Vestries, the representatives of St. John's parish failed to 
gain their end ; albeit the Vestry of St. Margaret resolved 
to state a case for the opinion of counsel " on the applica- 
" tion by the officers of St. John to the officers of St. Margaret 
" to give notice in St. Margaret's Church for making a rate 
" for the repair of St. John's Church, and on the intimation 
" by St. John's parish to move the Court of King's Bench 
" for a mandamus to compel this parish, jointly with them- 
" selves, to make such rates." By another resolution the 
Vestry of St. Margaret agreed to retain the solicitor-general 
on behalf of the parish. On the nth May, 181 5, the vestry 
clerk of St. Margaret's reported that the Court of King's 
Bench had granted a rule nisi on the application of the 
Vestry of St. John the Evangelist for a mandamus. On 
the 26th June the defendant Vestry of St. Margaret were 
informed that the mandamus had been issued, a copy of 
the writ being laid before the Vestry in the following 
October. The Churchwardens, who were the nominal 
defendants, "wished to be favoured with the advice and 
" opinion of the Vestry as to the course of proceeding 
" proper to be adopted under the present circumstances. 
" The Vestry deliberated a considerable time upon the 
' several matters relating thereto, and as the Church- 
" wardens were thereby in possession of their sentiments, it 
" was not thought necessary to enter into any specific 
" resolutions thereon." 

A difference of opinion between the two bodies occurred 
in 1735, upon the construction of the terms of an agreement 
entered into on 6th June, 1733, by which it was stipulated 

" Our reasons are full of good regard!' 197 

that all pew rents, burial fees, and other moneys payable 
to the churchwardens of St. John, should be applied to the 
payment of the ^125 to the Rector in lieu of rate, to the 
cost of repairs to the church, and the payments of servants' 
wages, tradesmen's bills and other demands, " and if there 
be any overplus that to be paid to the Church Wardens of 
St. Margaret, Westminster, in order to increase the Publick 
Stock of both Parishes in the hands of the Church W^ardens 
of St. Margaret's. But in case of any Deficiency, that to 
be made good by the Church Wardens of St. Margaret's 
in regard the Church Wardens of St. Margaret's have all 
the Publick Money in their Hands to which Money the 
Parish of St. John's is entitled to a proportionate part, and 
out of that Money all Public Parochial Expenses are paid." 

"This may probably make a demand of I5li. or 2oli. 
P. Ann. upon St. Margaret's for St. John's and 'tis thought 
not more." 

At the audit of the churchwarden's accounts for 1733-4, 
it was found that there was a balance of ^116 3s. due to 
the accountants. The Vestry of St. John, in pursuance of 
the agreement, made an order upon the Vestry of St. 
Margaret's for payment of the deficiency. On an explana- 
tion being asked for, the Vestry of St. John's supported 
their order by the following ' reasons ' : — 

First. — Because the Churchwardens of St. Margaret's parish are 
possessed of a very considerable Estate which is the property 
of both Pshes and of which the parish of St. John's is un- 
doubtedly intituled to a proportionable part. 

Second. — Because since the Consecration of the Church of St. 
John the Evangel' a large sum of money (which would have 
been otherwise paid to discharge the debt of the Workhouse) 
has been applyd to the renewing the leases of the Estate be- 
longing to y^ two Parishes and it would be extremely unjust 
that the Leases should be renewed with the money collected 
indifferently thro both parishes and that the Inhabitants of 
St. John's should have no Share of the proffits arising there- 
from in Ease of that Burden which must otherwise necessarily 
lye upon them. 


198 Self-government of the parish. 

Third. — Because tho the Vestry of St. John's parish, do acknow- 
ledge that (by Act of Padiament) a Pound-rate ought to be 
raised for the Maintenance of the Minister (unless any sum 
of money shall be appropriated for that purpose) . . . 
yet they do apprehend that if they should be put under a 
necessity of raising the said Pound rate for want of Assist- 
ance from the Parish of St. Margaret it would cause very 
great uneasyness in the Inhabitantsof St. John's and that many 
of them would leave the Parish rather than submitt to such a 
Tax which would be very detrimental to the Parish of St. 
Margaret as well as to that of St. John, the two Parishes 
being still united with respect to all other parochial Rates and 
consequently the Parish of St. Margaret being obligd in 
proportion to make good the deficiency in the rates which 
may be occasion'd by the Houses in St. John's I\arish 
standg empty. 

Fourth. — Because a considerable part of the Money now 
demanded has been laid out in the necessary Repairs of St. 
John's Church which the express words of the Act of Parlmt 
require to be defrayd by a Rate indifferently made and 
collected thro both Parishes. 

Fifth. — Because the Churchwardens of St. John's Parish in those 
years when they did raise the Pound rate found it so grie\'ous 
to the Inhabitants that they have since chosen to omitt raising 
t and to advance the Money themselves rather than create 
so much uneasyness among the people, hoping that it would 
appear highly reasonable to the Churchwardens and Vestry 
of St. Margaret's to make good this deficiency when they 
should consider it a proper light. 

Sixth. — Because great numbers of the Inhabitants of St. John's 
Parish are buried in the Church and Churchyards of St. 
Margaret's Parish on account of their Relations having been 
buried there before, and very few of the Inhabitants of St. 
Margaret's (if any) are buried in St. John's Churchyard, 
which is a considerable diminution of the fiees which would 
otherwise arise by burials in St. John's, all which would be 
applyd to the paying the Charges of St. John's parish, and 
is at the same time a considerable advantage to St. 
Margaret's Parish. 

Seventh and last. — Because by the resolution of the Vestry of 
St. Margarets taken the sixth day of June, 1733. . . Wee 
do apprehend that the said Vestry have already come into 
the proposal made to them And do hope that tho the 
deficiency should amount to more than Twenty pounds a year, 
the Churchwardens and Vestry of St. Margaret's will not for 
the Reasons aforegiven scruple the payment of the same." 

Rises in the parocliial barometer. 199 

A case for the opinion of counsel was agreed to between 
the two Vestries, and was laid before the Attorney General 
on 15 th April, 1736 ; but the opinion is not entered in any 
of the records. The payment of the money was reported, 
however, in May, 1739. 

In 1 8 16, when the church of St. John had fallen into dis- 
repair, the two Vestries appointed a Committee to carry 
out the necessary works at an estimated cost of ^^2,000, 
and a rate of eightpence in the £ was levied upon the two 
parishes to raise the required amount. 

A little later on the parochial barometer registered " set 
fair," as shown by an entry on the minutes at the time of 
Dr. Blair's unsuccessful attempt to lay claim to the receipts 
from the letting of the vaults under the church, and to the 
construction of brick graves in the burial ground : — 

3U/ J/<:7_)', 1781. — Resolved that the thanks of this Vestry be and 
are hereby given^to the Vestry of St. Margaret for their ready 
Assistance in supporting the Rights of this parish against the 
claims set up by the Rector, and that a Copy of this Resolu- 
tion be transmitted by the Vestry Clerk of this Parish to the 
Vestry Clerk of St. Margaret's to be laid before that Vestry at 
their next Meetmg. 

Proceeding onwards, and still keeping the eye on the 

parochial barometer, we welcome the indication of " Fine " 

in the minutes of 28th February, 1803, as we read : — 

" This Vestry, highly sensible of the attentions of the Church 
Wardens and Vestry of the parish of St. Margaret, not only 
for their present of the large brass chandelier, but for their 
handsome manner of presenting the same, which this Vestry 
hopes will prove an elegant and Constant Memorial of that 
union which will always subsist between two parishes so 
closely united both in interest and situation." 

thus exemplifying Wordsworth's couplet — 

The two that were at strife are blended 
And all old troubles now are ended. 

Turning to some of the other multifarious matters which 

engaged the attention of the Vestry, we find them one day 

(ist March, 1750), deploring the pernicious use of spirituous 

liquors, and petitioning the Magistrates to withhold their 

N 2 

200 Sclf-gov:nimc}it of the parish. 

sanction to the renewal of licenses to eight notoriously trou- 
blesome public-houses. On another occasion (9th June, 
1774) the Vestry record their indignation and alarm at the 
frequency of robberies from the person and burglaries in 
the parish, and offer rewards of ;^io upon every conviction. 
At another meeting they discuss the inadequacy of the pro- 
visions for the protection of life and property from fire ; 
then street obstructions, and the shouting on Sundays by 
itinerant dealers are seriously debated with a view to sup- 
pression ; and at frequent intervals extending over nearly 
a hundred years (1736 to 1835) the grievous complaints of 
inhabitants led the Vestry to apply themselves seriously to 
devising more effectual means of improving the paving, light- 
ing and watching of the streets, and the abatement of nuis- 
ances within the parish. Not that ' our parish ' was behind 
others, or even the City of London itself, of which The Doctor 
(1834) attributed to Southey, affords ys a passing glance : — 
" The present race of Londoners little know what the appearance 
of the city was a century ago ; their own city, we were about to have 
said, but it was the city of their great-grandfathers in 1716. At that 
time the kennels (as in Paris) were in the street, and there were no 
foot-paths ; spouts projected the rain-water in streams, against which 
umbrellas, if umbrellas had been then in use, could have afforded no 
defence ; and large signs, such as are to be seen at country inns, 
were suspended from every shop from posts which impeded the way, 
or from iron supports strongly fixed into the front of the house. The 
swinging of one of these broad signs in a high wind, and the weight 
of the iron on which it acted, sometimes brought the wall down ; and 
it is recorded that one, from a fall of this kind, in Fleet-street, maimed 
several persons, and killed two young ladies, a cobbler, and the king's 

An unfavourable impression made by the state of the 
streets on the mind of Swift, was reflected in his Descrip- 
tion of a City SJioiver : — 

" Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow, 
And bear their trophies with them as they go ; 
Filth of all hues and odour seem to tell 
What street they sailed from by their sight and smell. 

Sweepings from butchers' stalls, dung, yes, and blood, 
Drown'd puppies, stinking sprats, all drenched in mud. 
Dead cats and turnip tops come tumbling down the Hood," 

Additional statutory powers. 20i 

Churchill makes reference to the kennels as 

" Those fragrant currents which we meet, 
DistiUing soft through every street." 

On the 27th January, 1741, Lord Tyrconnell complained 
in the House of Lords that it was impossible to go down to 
the House or to return from it without observing the state of 
the streets of Westminster — " observations forced on every 
man however inattentive or however engrossed with reflec- 
tions of a different kind. The filth in some parts of the 
town, and the inequalities and ruggedness of others, cannot 
but in the eyes of foreigners disgrace our nation and incline 
them to imagine us a people not only without delicacy, but 
without Government — a herd of barbarians or a colony of 

For more than twenty years after the formation of the 
parish, many of the nuisances and annoyances which in- 
creased with the rapid growth of the population, were only 
remediable by common law indictment. The Vestry there- 
fore suggested to the governing bodies of several of the 
adjacent parishes the desirability of uniting in a petition to 
Parliament for the introduction of a Bill to confer extended 
powers on the local authorities. Unexpected objections 
were taken, however, and insuperable obstacles prevailed 
until 1752, when an Act (25 Geo. H., cap. 23) was passed 
which simplified the method of raising money by a rate 
for all local purposes, and amended the provisions affecting 
the maintenance of the highways in the two parishes. In 
1 77 1 another enactment (11 Geo. HI., cap. 22) deal- 
ing with kindred matters, was added tq the Statute Book ; 
but the additional powers thus conferred were soon 
found insufficient for the exigencies of the constantly in- 
creasing number of inhabitants. The aid of Parliament 
was therefore again petitioned, and another Act (22 Geo. 
HI., cap. 44) was passed in 1782 with the object of effecting 
further improvement. Some of the recitals in the preamble 
to this Act do not testify to the efficacy of the former Act 

202 Self-govcniincnt of tJie parish. 

during its thirty years operation, for we read that " the 
houses and other buildings in the several streets .... are 
so far from being advanced in value, that ever since the 
passing of the said Act the same have been going to decay, 
and are now in a great many places too ruinous to be 
inhabited. And the pavement in such streets . . is, in 
general, in so ruinous a state as to be extremely danger- 
ous. . . and the said streets . . are very insufficiently 
lighted in general, and in many parts not at all, and are ex- 
cessively annoyed by night-soil and other offensive things 
being laid or cast therein." These evils appear to have been 
due to the fact that many of the poorer streets were specially 
exempted from the operation of the former Act on account of 
the inability of the inhabitants of such streets to pay the rate 
authorised to be levied ; but while this third Act augured 
improvement by the removal of those exemptions, it was 
the precursor of the inexplicable chaos from which the local 
government of the parish was not extricated for many 
years. Notwithstanding the existence of a Vestry of forty- 
two members in St. John's parish, and of a similar, though 
more numerous, body in St. Margaret's, this Act called into 
existence a third body — a Commission — who were to have 
independent jurisdiction over certain thoroughfares regard- 
less of the well-defined boundaries of the parishes. Although 
there were by this time four local authorities exercising 
control in a small area, a fifth was added by the passing in 
1809 of the Act for the construction of Vauxhall bridge, 
whereby the maintenance and lighting of the Vauxhall 
bridge-road and some of the contiguous streets were im- 
posed upon the promoters ; and a sixth was created by the 
Act of 6 Geo. IV., cap. 134 (1826) which constituted the 
Tothill Fields Trust. Passing over the General Paving 
(Metropolis) Act, of 1817 (57 George III., cap. 29), as 
applying to this parish only in common with the whole 
metropolis, we find an attempt made in 1825 to rectify 
some of the local incongruities by the passing of the Act 
5 William IV., cap. 18, under which a separate paving com- 

Confusion intensified. 203 

mission for each of the two parishes was brought into 
existence. Thus the number of bodies concerned in the 
local administration was increased to eight, not to speak of 
the Crown Estate Paving Commission, who were responsible 
for part of the parish on the east side, and the Governors 
and Directors of the Poor, who had not been relieved of 
their obligations in some of the central streets of the parish. 
The confusion these numerous Acts' were designed to dispel 
was, in fact, intensified to such a degree that, by way of 
example, Horseferry-road became almost neglected during 
the frequent disputes between three of the authorities as to 
their respective liability for its repair ; Rochester-row, from 
the same cause, gave rise to repeated threats of indictment 
by the inhabitants on account of the danger to which the 
traffic was exposed by the want of repair ; and when it was 
proposed to release, the proprietors of Vauxhall bridge from 
their liability to maintain and light the roads and streets 
leading to the bridge, it was found that there were four 
local authorities concerned. 

With the exception of those acting for the Crown Estate, 
the Commissions were elected by the Vestries of the re- 
spective parishes, who were themselves self-elected. To 
this system, the parishioners attributed many of the incon- 
veniences from which they suffered. A movement was 
therefore set on foot at a meeting of inhabitants held at 
" the Infant School-room in Vincent-square," in February, 
1832, for the adoption of the Act i and 2 Will. IV., cap. 60, 
commonly known as Hobhouse's Act, by which the power of 
electing their representatives was conferred upon the rate- 
payers. There were 1,469 householders in the parish at 
the time, of which G},"] were qualified to vote when the 
sense of the parish was taken. Of these 443 declared them- 
selves in favour of the change, eight were against it, and 
186 did not fill up the voting papers left at their houses for 
the purpose. The Act was thereupon adopted ; 

" But when men think they most in safety stand, 
Their greatest peril often is at hand.'' 

204 Self-government of the parish. 

A few years brought an unlocked for and inextricable 
complication, arising from the non-adoption of the new Act 
in St. Margaret's parish. Certain ratepayers in St. John's 
parish objected to pay their paving rate on the ground 
that under the peculiar constitution of the two parishes by 
the Act of 1752, neither of them, acting separately, could 
adopt Hobhouse's Act ; that the Vestry of St. John's, being 
illegally constituted, could not legally become or appoint 
Paving Commissioners, and that the Paving Rate, being 
illegally made, could not be enforced. A case for the 
opinion of counsel was stated, and placed before Sir Fitzroy 
Kelly, Mr. Tomlinson, and Mr. W. H. Bodkin, who all ad- 
vised that the objection was valid, and that the election of 
vestrymen by the popular vote must be adopted in the two 
parishes or not at all. The arrears of rates, extending over 
several years, were thereupon written off, and the " select " 
vestry system reverted to ; but not until seven members, 
who had been elected under Hobhouse's Act and persisted 
in attending the meeting of the United Vestries on 23rd 
May, 1848, were compelled to withdraw as having no legal 
right to be present. By this time, however, the days of the 
"select" system in London had become numbered. "By the 
appalling visitation of cholera in 1848, public attention 
became drawn irresistibly to the absence of any efficient 
system of sanitation in the metropolis generally ; but no 
effective legislation took place until 1855, when the second 
epidemic of cholera in 1854 gave a powerful impetus 
to the contemplated reform. 

So incomplete was the application of the many statutes 
relating to the paving, lighting, and general sanitation of 
the parish at this time, that there were more than three 
miles of streets and places without sewers, and, as a conse- 
quence, there was no other drainage for the houses fronting 
those streets than the primitive and (in a crowded parish) 
intolerable cesspool, which was found to be defective in up- 
wards of 700 cases ; there were 400 open privies, 900 w.c.'s 

Need for iinprovcinent. 205 

without water supply, upwards of 300 houses without recep- 
tacles for their refuse, and rather more than 200 instances 
in which the water supply was obtained through water- 
butts unfit for use, owing to their unwholesome condition. 
There were also 76,000 square yards of roadway, and 12,700 
square yards of footway without any description of paving. 
In the evidence taken by a Select Committee of the House 
of Commons in 1852 upon the subject of the water supply 
in the metropolis, it was stated that Westminster still 
derived its water " from the impure source abandoned by 
the other companies," while the water-cart was only used 
in those few streets in w^iich the inhabitants subscribed, by 
a voluntary rate, to defray the expense. With the nuisances 
of which our forefathers had to complain we are totally 
unacquainted. In 1844 there were three 'bone-factories,' 
a lucifer match manufactory, " the keeping of an immense 
quantity of geese," and "the boiling of materials used in the 
japanning of leather," among the causes of dissatisfaction, 
while earlier, the establishment of the gas works in Great 
Peter-street gave rise to repeated representations by the 
inhabitants, and the strong arm of the law was more than 
once moved to suppress annoyances at a large piece of 
ground called the Swiss Ground (between New Tothill- 
street and the New Way, the site of the present Victoria 
Mansions), occupied by persons who kept large numbers of 
pigs in styes, where " great quantities of dust, filth and 
ashes in prodigious heaps above the height of the walls of 
the surrounding gardens suffocated the inhabitants with the 

On the 17th March, 1855, Sir Benjamin Hall, as president 
of the Board of Health, introduced his " Bill for the Better 
Local Management of the Metropolis," amidst a vigorous 
and impatient opposition, which, however, he skilfully over- 
came. In the course of the debate upon the Bill, the un- 
satisfactory state of affairs in Westminster was adduced as 
evidence of the need of reform. Having passed into law in 

2o6 Self-govermncnt of the parish. 

August of the same year, the effect of the Act upon West- 
minster was to aboHsh the two ' select ' vestries and all the 
other authorities elected by or associated with them. These 
were replaced by a vestry in each parish, elected by the rate- 
payers, and by a District Board of Works appointed by the 
joint Vestries. The duties of the Library Commissioners, 
the Baths and Wash-houses Commissioners, and the Burial 
Board, and of the United Vestries as the rating authority 
under the Act of 1752, were not affected by the new law, 
except that the United Vestries became the authority for 
levying and collecting the sums to be expended by the Dis- 
trict Board of Works, the Burial Board, the Commissioners 
for Libraries and those for Baths and Wash-houses. The 
Vestry of St. John's parish, remodelled upon the elective 
principle, and the District Board of Works, upon which 
the representatives of St. John's parish were appointed by 
the parish Vestry, commenced their duties under the new 
Act on 1st January, 1856, and continued until 25th March, 
1888, when the District Board of Works was dissolved, and 
its duties, properties, and liabilities transferred to the 
' United Vestry ' of the two parishes, by virtue of an Act 
passed in 50 and 51 Vict., cap. 17 (1887) under circum- 
stances fully detailed in the Thirty-First Report of the 
District Board of Works, pp. 29 — 35. Thus the self- 
government of the two parishes is restored, but with the 
advantage of direct election by, and responsibility to the 
ratepayers, to the position it occupied prior to 1752, when 
the affairs of the area now comprised within the boundaries 
of the two parishes were administered by one local govern- 
ing body. The principal duty reserved to the Vestry of 
St. John's, acting independently, is that of appointing 
churchwardens; but, acting conjointly with their neighbours 
of St. Margaret, as a ' United Vestry,' they have an equal 
voice and power in all that pertains to the temporal 
welfare of the two parishes. 

Of the three auxiliary bodies, whose functions were in no 

Three auxiliary conniiissions. 207 

way affected by the Act of 1888, the oldest is the Baths 
and Wash-houses Commission. Their powers are derived 
from two Acts of Parhament passed in 1846 and 1847 
(9 and 10 Vict., cap. 74, and 10 and 11 Vict., cap. 61) 
which are to be considered as one Act. The Act, entrusts 
Vestries with the appointment of Commissioners, and with 
a discretionary power as to the extent to which the poor 
rate shall be charged with the expenditure. A further 
reference is made to the establishment under the manage- 
ment of the Commission in chapter XV. 

The Commissioners of Free Public Libraries are consti- 
tuted under the Act 13 and 14 Vict., cap. 65 (1850), and 
the numerous Acts amending or extending it, which have 
been incorporated in the Public Libraries (Consolidation) 
Act of last Session (55 and 56 Vict., cap 53). In so far as 
the expenditure affects the poor rate, the Vestry, who 
appoint the Commissioners, have a controlling power ; in 
other respects, like their brethren of the Baths and Wash- 
houses, they are entrusted with independent powers. A 
notice of the Library conducted by the Commission is 
reserved for chapter XV. 

The third of the smaller corporate bodies is the Burial 
Board, which was called into existence on the 29th 
November, 1852, when the Vestry adopted the Act which 
empowered them to appoint such a Board for the purpose 
of providing a new burial place, and of maintaining the 
disused churchyards of St. Margaret's and Christ Church, 
and the burial ground of St. John's. The first Burial 
Board appointed after the adoption of the Act consisted of 
Canon Jennings, Sir William Page Wood, M.P. (afterwards 
Lord Hatherley) Taverner John Miller, Esq., J. P., M.P., 
Hartwell John Maude, Esq., Mr. Joseph Carter Wood, 
Mr. George Wilson, and Mr. James Bigg. 

After a proposal to purchase 21 acres of land at Garrett 
Farm, Tooting, had been rejected, the provision of addi- 
tional space for interments was effected by agreements 

2o8 Self-govcrmncnt of tJic parish. 

between the Board and the London Necropolis Company, 
dated respectively 2 1st April, 1855, 14th April, 1858, 
1 0th November, 1858, and 30th December, 1863. By the 
first of these deeds six acres of land in the consecrated 
part, and two acres in the unconsecrated part of the 
cemetery at Woking were set apart for burials from the two 
parishes; and by the subsequent indentures exchanges 
were effected, but very few interments have taken place in 
any part of the ground reserved to Westminster. This has 
been attributed partly to the fact that such provision has 
not been publicly made known among the parishioners, 
partly to the preference given to Brompton Cemetery as 
being more accessible, and partly to the fact that the duties 
in relation to 'parish' burials were transferred from the 
Governors and Directors of the poor of St. Margaret and 
St. John, to the Board of Guardians of St. George's Union 
by an Order of the Poor Law Board in August, 1867. From 
that time the Burial Board have had no further duty than the 
maintenance of the churchyards of St. Margaret's and Christ 
Church, the management of the burial ground of St. John's 
having been transferred to the United Vestry under the 
Open Spaces Act of 1881 {see page 128), and the Metropolis 
Local Management(Battersea and Westminster) Act of 1887. 
Another important branch of the Vestry's business re- 
mains to be called to mind — the protection of the lives and 
properties of the inhabitants by means of " the Watch." 
No department of the local administration was such a con- 
stant source of trouble and anxiety, from the commence- 
ment of the Vestry's operations in 1728 until 1830 — just over 
a hundred years — when the superannuated paupers vanished 
at the approach of the strong and sturdy "force" inaugurated 
by Sir Robert Peel. It is impossible to conceive any institu- 
tion more unfitted for the demands of society, more corrupt, 
or more inefficient. Infirm and decrepid, unable to work, 
and oftentimes in the receipt of relief from ' the parish,' the 
old men were given ' a beat ' and twelve shillings a week, 

" TJie WatcJi ought to offend no man." 209 

without much regard to their physical capabihties. SuppHed 
each with a rattle, a staff, and a treble-caped great coat, a 
lanthorn, — and with it the lives and properties of the 
parishioners, — was placed in their hands. With little 
wooden boxes against the wall, to shelter them from rain 
or storm (but in which they often snored away the greater 
part of the night) they would totter round their beats, 
carrying their dark lanterns, (the horn black with the smoke 
of many candles) and ' shouting ' as loudly as their feeble 
voices and husky throats would permit, the hour of the 
night and the state of the weather. The monotony of these 
muttering and almost inaudible announcements was some- 
times varied by an alarming cry of " Watch ! " " Watch ! ! " 
repeated until the whole neighbourhood was disturbed and 
the somnambulistic " Charley " appeared on the scene in 
response, when he would be coolly told to return to his box 
and " sleep it out." 

Occasionally a cry of " Help ! " and the springing of a 
rattle would arouse the sleeping citizen ; but his good 
citizenship, taught by experience, generally applied itself 
to trying the bolts, double-locking the street door, securing 
the windows, and returning to his couch, hoping the 
guardian of the night had mistaken a practical joker for a 
desperate offender. So far from deterring these two mis- 
chievious classes, the inefficiency of ' the watch ' encouraged 
them, although the existence of 997 licensed houses in the 
City and Liberties of Westminster (one-fifth of the entire 
number in the metropolis) in 1796, would seem to have 
called for special vigilance and activity. 

It is not intended for a moment, however, to imply that 
the inefficiency of ' the watch ' was peculiar to ' our parish.' 
A ' Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis' by Patrick 
Colquhoun, LL.D., a magistrate at the Queen Square Police 
Office (Lond. 1796) declared that "watchmen and patroles, 
owing to their being comparatively of little use from their 
age, infirmity, inability, inattention or corrupt practices, 

210 Self-govermncnt of the parish. 

form a system without energy, disjointed, and governed by 
almost as many different Acts of Parliament as there are 
parishes, hamlets, liberties and precincts within the Bills of 
Mortality. . . Not a small proportion of the very men 
who are paid for protecting the public, are not only instru- 
ments of oppression in many instances, by extorting money 
most urlwarrantably ; but are also not seldom accessories in 
aiding, abetting or concealing the commission of crimes." 
Nor is it intended to imply that the shortcomings of the 
system had become notorious for the first time at the com- 
mencement of the present century. Dogberry's charges to 
the Watch in Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing 
(Act III., Sc. 3) have only to be mentioned as a pleasant 
reminder to the contrary. 

In 1734 and the two following years the necessity for 
improving the service was repeatedly discussed by ' our 
Vestry,' and in 1736 the)^ combined with the Vestry of St. 
Margaret's to give effect to one of the many Acts passed 
with the object of placing the system on an efficient footing. 
Rounds were assigned, the ' stands ' were re-arranged, the 
men were ordered to carry a lanthorn and candle, to be 
armed with an " ashen staff," to declare " with a distinct and 
loud voice the time of the night and morning," and to wear 
" a portcullis brass badge on their upper coat or garment." 
Among the accounts paid by the Vestry on 3rd August, 
1738, was one : — 

To Mr. John Smith, one of the Churchwardens of St. 
Margaret's, 1736, disbursed by him on account of 
the death of Charles Dubois, a watchman, who 
was murdered by one man ... ... ... ... £y 15 2 

On 13th February, 1772, an additional code of regulations 
was drawn up with special reference to the use of rattles 
and to ensure " the certainty of the watch always taking 
the said rattles with them." In 1813, when there were less 
than 30 men employed, the watch-rate was 9d. in the £.* 

* At the present time the payment on account of the Police is equivalent to 
5d. in the £, and the numerical strength of the force engaged in St. John's is 
about 135. 

" We find the slothful Watch but weakT 21 1 

As illustrating the minor troubles of the Vestry and its 
committees in keeping the movements of the Watch in 
order, a very few extracts are sufficient : — 

2Sth July, 1826. Jeromes, Charles. Asleep at half-past two 
o'clock, and calling on another watchman's beat and locking" 
up a drunken man and a dog in his watch-box. Found by 
the Sergeant. 

^rd Sept., 1826. Jeromes, Charles. Found by the Sergeant 10 
minutes past one o'clock in another watchman's beat, with 
his lantern on his back cjuite incapable of doing his duty ; 
sent home. Discharged 13th Sept., 1826. 

8th Nov., 1826. Cooksey, Daniel, Patrole. For being in liquor, 
and neglect of duty, and likewise for going to the watchman, 
wishing them to state a falsehood that he had done his duty 
and that he was not in liquor. Reported by the Serg-eant. 

Discharged 5th Feb., 1827. 

i^th June,. 182'j. Perry, Thomas. For missing duty two nights 
without leave, the 2nd and 3rd June. Reported by the 
Sergeant. Fine One Shilling. 

2'/th October, 182"/. Barton, Richard. For being in liquor at 
half-past one o'clock, and calling the wrong hour and behav- 
ing contemptuously to the Sergeant and Patrole, and likewise 
abusing the Patrol in a shameful manner and taking off his 
Watch Coat and throwing it in the flags amongst the mud in 
a contemptuous manner. Reported by the Sergeant. 


lotti June, i82g. Thompson, John. For neglect of duty for not 
reporting the moving" of Goods in Douglas-street in proper 
time. Report by the Sergeant. Fined One Shilling. 

Here we take leave of a system which, the subject of 
ridicule in Shakspeare's time, had become utterly worthless 
and contemptible as a means of preventing crime in the 
first quarter of the present century. 

As 'the watch' withdrew from the streets of St. John's, 
the candle lanterns and the oil lamps, which had been their 
nightly companions, disappeared also, to make way for an 
improvement in public lighting as great as that which 
attended the introduction of the police for the public 

" The gas up-blazes with its bright, white light 
And paralytic watchmen prowl, howl, growl. 
Now thieves to enter for your cash, smash, crash ; 
Past drowsy Charley, in a deep sleep, creep, 
But frightened by Policeman B 3, flee." 


212 Self -government of the parish. 

Next to ' the watch,' the service which occasioned con- 
stant complaint, in the local board-room and out of it, was 
the lighting of the public streets, although in the latter, as 
in the former, the local authorities could only administer 
the law as they found it, and petition Parliament to remedy 
the defects discovered by experience. When the Vestry 
came into existence, the Act of 14 Charles II., cap. 2 (1674) 
as amended by 2 William and Mary, cap. 8, was still in 
force. These Acts imposed upon householders the obliga- 
tion of hanging out candles until nine (the time was 
extended by the second Act to twelve) o'clock at night, 
under a penalty of two shillings for each default. 

Charles Knight, in his Midsummer-eve refers to this 

duty : — 

A light here, maids, hang out your light, 
And see your horns be clear and bright, 
That so your candle clear may shine, 
Continuing from six to nine ; 
That honest men that walk along 
May see to pass safe without wrong. 

The number of defaulters under the above Acts was so 
great, however, that the Magistrates passed an order that the 
parties summoned should be brought before them " from 
one street at a time so as to avoid crowd and confusion " ; 
then, as the public bodies began to exhibit lights at some 
of the street corners, the Magistrates advised the residents 
to subscribe towards the cost |of such provision, and pro- 
mised exemption of penalties if they acted on the advice. 

In 1786 the Vestry called the attention of . Parliament to 
the necessity for some more effectual system, alleging in 
their petition " that many of the street robberies, burglaries, 
murders, and other crimes, are greatly owing to the in- 
sufficient lighting of the streets " ; but notwithstanding 
that Whitehall and the other approaches to the Houses of 
Parliament were entirely without street lights except in the 
winter months, when they were lighted by the Government, 
the powers asked for were not granted until 1762.* Mean- 
* The Act of 1752 contained no provision as to lighting. 

Dangers of the streets by night. 213 

while such lights as were seen out of doors were carried by 
the watchman and the link-boy, the one incapable, the 
other dishonest — if we may accept Gay's description of the 
fraternity : — 

Though thou art tempted by the Hnkman's call, 
Yet trust him not along the lonely wall ; 
In the midway he'll quench the flaming brand. 
And share the booty with the pilfering band. 
Still keep the public streets where oily rays, 
Shot from the crystal lamps, o'erspread thy ways. 

The dangers attending a walk in the streets after sunset 
were noticed by many of the writers of the time. Thus we 
find Johnson, in his London, offering a word of warning, in 
which, however, he suggests that some advantage was ob- 
tained by engaging "the officious linkboy's smoky light": — 

Prepare for death if here at night you roam. 
And sign your will before you sup from home. 
Some fiery fop, with new commission vain, 
Who sleeps on brambles till he kills his man,— 
Some frolic drunkard, reeling from a feast. 
Provokes a broil, and stabs you for a jest. 
Yet even these heroes, mischievously gay, 
Lords of the street and terrors of the way, 
Flush'd as they are with folly, youth, and wine. 
Their prudent insult to the poor confine ; 
Afar they mark the flambeau's bright approach, 
And shun the shining train and golden coach. 

Besides the frolicsome drunkard, there were others who 
formed themselves into clubs or societies for the express 
purpose of lawlessness during the dark evenings, before the 
streets were deserted or the householders retired to rest. 
Among these were the " Mohocks " and the " Nickers " who 
collectively visited the parishes within easy reach of the 
City, the former to insult or assault pedestrians of all classes, 
whether lighted by the link-boy's flambeau or not; the latter 
to spread terror within doors by breaking all the windows 
which could be reached by throwing the heavy copper coins 
of the day. Dangers of this kind, which as much beset the 


2'I4 Self -gov ermne^tt of tJic parisJi. 

person and property of the Cabinet Minister as the cottager, 
\\'ere noticed by Gay : — 

Now is the time that rakes their revels keep, 

Kindlers of riot, enemies of sleep ; 

His scattered pence the flying Nicker flings. 

And with the copper shower the casement rings. 

Who has not heard the Scowerer's mid-night fame? 

Who has not trembled at the Mohocks name ? 

Was there a watchman took his hourly rounds 

Safe from their blows or new in\'ented wounds ? 

The authority to hght certain of the public streets in 
Westminster, given by the Act of 1762, was extended to 
other streets by an Act passed in 1782, and by 1793 there 
were 220 " globular-glass lamps with oil and cotton and two 
burners each." By this time the lamplighter was fairly es- 
tablished in his glory. He might be seen every morning 
hurrying through the ill-paved streets, and his ladder might 
be felt, driven against the breast, as he hastily turned the 
street corner, or his oil might be smelt on the pedestrian's 
clothes after it had fallen from a defective lamp as he passed 
beneath it. Yet the day was proud of its lamps, which 
Bechmann, in his History of hrocntions, described as 
" something like a wonder of the world." Nevertheless, 
great as was this stride in the march of improvement, the 
system by no means met the requirements, for many of the 
poorer streets, which were not paved because of the inability 
of the residents to pay the rate, were not lighted for the 
same reason, and many of the streets in which lamps were 
placed were frequently left in darkness either after midnight 
or throughout the night, or for several nights in succession, 
owing to the perfunctory execution of the work by the con- 

By the provisions of the Act of 1762 the Magistrates 
were armed with very stringent powers for the punishment 
of negligent lamplighters, the exercise of which did not es- 
cape the observant eye of Churchill : — 

Or like those lamps which Ijy the power 
Of law, must burn from hour to hour, 
(Else they, without redemption, fall 
Under the terrors of the Hall, 

^^ No candles now ^ for dark is ligJit" 215 

Which, once notorious for a hop, 

Is now become a justice shop*) 

Which are so managed to go out 

Just when the time comes round about ; 

Which yet, through emulation, strive 

To keep their dying Hght aHve, 

And (not uncommon as we find 

Amongst the children of mankind) 

As they grow weaker would seem stronger, 

And burn a little, little longer." 

Stringent specifications and contracts were drawn up, 
fines were imposed, contracts were annulled ; yet all failed 
to allay the almost incessant expressions of dissatisfaction. 
But while the law was displaying its weakness, science was 
quietly developing a remedy, of which Dr. Johnson is said 
to have had a prevision. f 

The Very Rev. Dr. Clayton, Dean of Kildare, having 
experimentally ascertained that a permanently elastic and 
inflammable aeriform fluid is evolved from pit-coal, de- 
scribed the same in a letter to the Hon. Robert Boyle in 
1691 ; and the Miscellanea Curtosa, 1705-7, Vol. III., p. 281, 
shows that the Doctor also discovered that gas retains its 
inflammability after passing through water. Hughes, in 
his Treatise on Gas Works, 1853, credits Dr. Watson, 
Bishop of Llandaff, with having given " the first notice of 
the important fact." In 1792 William Murdoch demon- 
strated the possibility of lighting by gas in Birmingham, 
Manchester, and Redruth, in Cornwall. In 1798 he applied 
his system to the factory of Messrs. Bolton and Watt, in Bir- 
mingham, and in 1805 to the cotton mills of Messrs. Phillips 

* The Westminster Petty Sessions were then held at a building in King- 
.street, which had formerly been a dancing room and low place of public 

t Sitting at the window of his house in Bolt Court one evening, Dr. Johnson 
observed the parish lamplighter ascend a ladder to light one of the glimmering 
oil lamps. The man had scarcely descended half way when the flame went 
out. Quickly returning, he lifted the cover partially, and thrusting the end of 
his torch beneath it, the flame was inslantly communicated to the wick by the 
thick vapour which issued from it. " Ah ! " exclaimed the Doctor, " one of 
these days the streets of London will be lighted by smoke ! " Timb's Curiosi- 
ties of London. 

O 2 

2i6 Self-government of the parish. 

and Lee, at Salford. In 1803-4, Frederick Albert Winsor, 
a German, after many experiments, lighted the old Lyceum 
Theatre by the same means. He thereupon promoted a 
new Light and Heat Company, with a capital of ;^50,ooo, 
to enable him to continue his experiments, and to extend 
the new method of lighting. In 1807 the new light was 
brought into use on one side of Pall Mall, on the wall 
between Pall Mall and St. James's Park, for illuminations 
on the King's birthday, and at the Golden-lane Brewery. 
Having applied for Parliamentary powers in 1809, the 
Chartered Gas Company of London was incorporated under 
the authority of Parliament in 18 10. Their first establish- 
ment was in Cannon-row, whence it was soon removed to 
the site of a market garden and tea-gardens between Great 
Peter-street and Horseferry-road. In 181 3 the new light 
was used in St. John's Church ; in 18 14 in St. Margaret's 
Church, on Westminster-bridge, and in several of the 
principal thoroughfares. Thus a system which is said to 
have been " commonly employed by the Chinese for ages,'' 
and which evoked the unspairing opposition of Mr. 
Brougham, F.R.S., Sir Humphry Davy, President of the 
Royal Society, and a Deputation of Fellows of the same 
learned Society, who speculated " upon the most fright- 
ful consequences from the leakage and explosion of the 
gasometer," took root in ' our parish,' and thence spread 
with more or less rapidity, throughout Europe, and 
America, and most of the principal towns in Australia 
and New Zealand. 

In the commencement of their business in Great Peter 
street, the Company received every reasonable encourage- 
ment from the local authorities with respect to the laying 
of mains, though the neglect to reinstate the roadways, and 
the offensive smells given off in some parts of the manu- 
facturing process, were the subject of frequent complaint. 
The efforts to enforce the abatement of the nuisances pro- 
duced very little effect for many years. Not only was an 

Development of gas-ligJiting. 2i^ 

enormous quantity of foul smelling water discharged from 
the works along the open channels in the streets, but offen- 
sive vapours were allowed to escape in such volumes as to 
annoy the residents far beyond the limits of the parish. 
On Sunday, loth July, 1849, the nuisance was so intolerable 
and extensive that many of the congregation assembled 
in St. John's and St. Margaret's Churches had to leave 
before the conclusion of the services. An investigation was 
shortly afterwards made by chemists, engineers, and other 
specialists, upon whose advice the company adopted such 
alterations in their process and apparatus as brought about 
great improvement. 

The company's pipes were laid in Church-street, Mill- 
bank-street, Palace-yard, Great Smith-street, Great Peter- 
street, Dean-street, Strutton-ground, the Broadway, and 
Artillery-place, in 18 14. In 18 17 permission was given to 
lay pipes in "the principal streets of the parish," which were 
specified as Marsham-street, Tufton-street, Great College- 
street, Bowling-street, Little Smith-street, Millbank-row 
and Romney-street. The work was not completed until 
1 8 19, when several of the smaller streets were also lighted 
for the first time with gas. The price of gas in 1 817 was 
15s. per 1 ,000 cubic feet, the annual cost of gas consumed 
in the street lamps was £1 3s, per lamp, and that of oil 
lamps £\ 6s. per annum. The use of oil lamps was not 
finally discontinued until 1835-6, by which time the gas 
service had become general throughout the whole of the 

The proceedings of the local governing bodies in relation 
to the relief of the poor, drainage, street obstructions, and 
roaci-making present no features worthy of special mention 
in such memorials as the present ; but in passing over them 
we may refer to a proposal to adopt in Church-street an 
experimental piece of wood paving on a system for which 
a patent was obtained by a Mr. Stead in 1839. The pave- 
ment was to be of " round blocks laid vertically, about seven 

:2i8 Self-govcrmnent of the parish. 

or eight inches in diameter, some nine inches, some six 
inches deep," in resemblance of " the very fine roads of this 
description in Prussia." The experiment was sanctioned 
13th October, 1840; in 1841 an offer was made by the 
"Metropolitan Wood Pavement Company"to laya somewhat 
similar kind of pavement, with iron rods, at twelve shillings 
per yard super, and in 1841 the inhabitants of Millbank- 
row and Millbank-street petitioned that wood paving might 
be laid in the carriage way of those thoroughfares ; but 
from the request not having been granted, it may be in- 
ferred that the new method was not regarded with favour. 
An allusion to the circumstance is justified, however, as 
showing that the idea of paving roadways with wood blocks 
laid vertically, as now extensively adopted in nearly all the 
London parishes, had its origin in St. John's a generation 
prior to the recent revival of the system. 

A brief reference to the fire-extinguishing arrangements, 
as among the responsibilities devolving upon ' the parish,' 
must not be omitted from a sketch on self-government. 
For the purposes of this service the Vestry had not to wait, 
as in the case of the public lighting, for statutory powers. 
Acts of Parliament passed in the 6th Anna^, cap. 17 and 31, 
had empowered local authorities to make all necessary pro- 
vision. An engine-house was accordingly erected in Regent- 
place,* at the junction of Regency-street with Horseferry- 
road, a hand-engine was purchased, ladders and buckets 
were provided, and the equipment made as complete as 
possible. In 1754 two new engines were purchased by 
public subscriptions, and 1,000 copies of a sect'on in the 
Act of Queen Anne were printed and circulated " to warn 
servants against setting fire to houses." 

The accounts abound in entries of rewards paid to the 
engine keeper for attendance at fires, though the engine 
from St. Margaret's, possibly owing to horses being used, 

■■* The structure was demolished and the site clearetl in iS66. A water trough 
now stands on part of the site. 

Fire engines and ladders. 219 

(harness for two horses was purchased in 1725), generally- 
outvied that of ' our parish ' in being the first to arrive. 
Sometimes, however, the prize was taken by one of the 
Insurance Companies' engines, in which case that of St. 
John's would take the third place. The rewards were 
generally 40s., 30s., and 20s. for the first three arrivals 
respectively, while those for the first ladders were 20s. for a 
four-storey, 15s. for a three-storey, and los. for a two- 
storey. On 1 6th December, 1797, an enquiry took place 
into the delay and inactiviiv of 'the staff' at a fire in 
Millbank-street, where the engine was in attendance half- 
an-hour before water could be obtained, notwithstanding the 
proximity of the river. It was then discovered that " the 
pipes were mixed and twisted together and half the 
suction pipe was missing " — -such an occurrence as Hood 
describes : — 

The engines I hear them come rumbHng ; 

There's the Phoenix ! the Globe ! and the Sun I 
What a row there will be, and a grumbling 

When the water don't start for a run I 
See ! there they come racing and tearing, 

All the street with loud voices is filled ; 
Oh 1 it's only the firemen a-swearing 

At a man they've run over and killed 1 
How sweetly the sparks fly away now, 

And twinkle like stars in the sky. 
It's a wonder the engines don't play now ; 

But I never saw water so sh)' ! 
Why, there isn't enough for a snipe. 

And the fire it is fiercer, alas ! 
Oh ! instead of the Company pipe, 

They have gone — that they have — to the gas I 

On the 1 6th January, 1802, the Vestry inquired into the 
circumstances, in usurpation it would appear, at first sight, 
of the coroner's functions, of a fire which had occurred at a 
house at the rear of No. 3, Barton-street, occupied by a 
printseller named Cartwright, who had obtained .1^979 from 
an insurance office as compensation. A certificate of 
" accidental " was given, and the claim was found to be 

220 Self-goverfUnetit of the parish. 

correct, "except that the value was calculated on the selling 
price instead of that at which the goods were purchased." 

In common with other similar bodies in the metropolis, 
the Vestry of St. John's were relieved of their responsibility 
in the matter of fire extinction in 1866, when the Metro- 
politan Fire Brigade was appointed. The engines were 
not accepted by the Metropolitan Board of Works as 
suitable for the purposes of the new brigade, in consequence 
of which they were sold, and the proceeds carried to the 
parish account. 

The functions of the Tothill Fields Trust which was con- 
stituted in 1826 {see p. 202) were limited, as its name 
implies, to the district known as Tothill fields, except that 
Rochester-row was specially exempted from the jurisdiction. 
The boundaries may be described roughly as Francis-street 
(in the parish of St. Margaret) on the north, the river on 
the south, Horseferry-road on the east, and Vauxhall bridge- 
road on the west. Except that the Act by which they were 
constituted, did not empower them to water the streets, their 
functions resembled those of the Vestry and the various 
Commissions, and do not therefore call for further notice. 
Their office and board room were at a small house, of 
which a sketch is given on the following page, at the 
corner of Fynes-street and Carey-street, facing Vincent- 

In closing this chapter with only a passing allusion to the 
proceedings of the Court of Burgesses, as one of the local 
governing bodies, it maybe explained that the "Ordinances" 
made under the Acts of 27 Elizabeth, by which the Court 
was incorporated, had become ineffective at the date of the 
formation of the parish. The principal duty remaining in 
their hands was the enforcement of the law relating- to 
weights and measures, which duty they continued to dis- 
charge until the Act of 1888 transferred it to the London 
County Council. Some notes on the constitution and 
" Ordinances " of the Court were published in Local Govern- 
mcHt in Westminster \n 1889. 


A further stroll about the parish. 

Chapter VIII. 


Who builds a church to God and not to fame, 
Will never mark the marble with his name. 


.As to the sandy desert fountains are, 
With palm groves shaded at wide intervals ; 
Such to this British Isle her Christian fanes, 
Each linked to each for kindred services. 


Statistics of the Districts. — St. Mary the Virgin. — Parsonage house. — 
Two singular entries in the marriage register. — St. Stephen, Roches- 
ter Row. — Description of the Church. — The consecration ceremony. 
— The bells. — St. Matthew, Great Peter-street. — Condition of dis- 
trict thirty years ago. — Laying the foundation stone. — Architecture 
and ornaments. — Agencies for the benefit of the poor. — Holy Trinity, 
Bessborough-gardens. — Inscription on Foundation-stone. — Architec- 
tural features. — Vicars. — St. James-the-Less, Upper Garden-street. 
— Architectural description of the church. — Vicars. —St. Mary's 
Roman Catholic Church. — The ''Irvingites" Church. — The Wesleyan 

A FTER inspecting the Church and tlie burial ground, 
our ramble round the parish was interrupted to enable 
us to look through the album of the rectors, the curates 
and lecturers, and the parish officers, and to make a retro- 
spect of the self-government of the parish. We now resume 
our walk for a survey of the five ecclesiastical districts 
formed within the boundaries during the first thirty years 
of Archdeacon Jennings' rectorship, and more particularly 
to notice the churches from which those districts or parishes 
derive their respective names. The plan given on the 
opposite page has been specially drawn to show the boun- 
daries of the several parishes in a more convenient manner 


The Ecclesiastical Divisions. 



/%^v, ^' SCHOOL // ; uj t'U pi < n~n >»»<«»' i.t'H I ^ 

Plan of the Parish of Saint John the Evam^ejist^ showing the 

(Reproduced from Stanford's six inch map of Loptlon.) 

Date of 






... 1727 . 

.. 950 ... 


... 184I . 

.. 686 ... 


... 1850 . 

.. 815 ... 


... 1852 . 

.. 718 ... 


... 1850 . 

.. 529 ... 


t.. 1861 . 

•• T:,! ••• 


:524 The Ecclesiastical Divisions. 

than could be done by a verbal de.scription. The report of 
the Census Commissioners for 1881 * (publi.shed in 1884) 
gives the following statistics of the parishes, including that 
reserved to the mother church : — 

St. John-the-Evangelist 

St. Mary-the- Virgin, Tothill-ficlds 

St. Stephen, Rochester-row 

Holy Trinity, Vauxhall-bridge-road 

St. Matthew, Great Peter-street 

St. James-the-Less, Upper Garden-street 

The dates as to the formation of the parishes must not, 
however, be accepted without reservation, e.g.., the parish of 
St. John was created by Instrument inrolled in the High 
Court of Chancery on 8th January, 1724 (see p. g), and 
the church consecrated on the 20th June, 1728 ; although 
the Order in Council setting out the parish of St. Mary-the- 
Virgin was dated the 4th June, 1841, the church M'as con- 
secrated on 1 2th October, 1837 ; and the foundation stones 
of St. Matthew's and Holy Trinity Churches were both laid 
on 8th November, 1849, the consecration of the former 
taking place in July, 1851, and that of Holy Trinity in 
the following year. The Order in Council defining" the 
parish of St. Matthew was dated 7th August, 1851 ; that 
relating to Holy Trinity was issued 30th June, 1852. The 
first of the districts separated from the mother parish was 
that of 


The Church, which contains 1,000 seats, is a modest brick 
building, with stone dressings, in the 'Debased Gothic' st}'le, 
from the designs of Mr. Edward Blore, on the south-east 
side of Vincent-square, and owes its dedication to St. Mary 
to the fact that Archdeacon Jennings' only child at that 

* The report of the Census Commissioners for 1S91, in relation to the 
ecclesiastical parishes or districts, is not yet pul)lished. 

St. M ary -t J le- Virgin. 225 

time was named Mary.* The site was given by the Dean 
and Chapter of Westminster ; the Church Commissioners 
contributed ;^3,ooo towards the cost of the building, the 
Incorporated Church Building Society gave i^Soo, and 
Lord Bexley presented ;^ioo and the church-plate used at 
the administration of the Holy Communion. The coloured 
glass windows in the clerestory, by Clayton and Bell, are 
in memory of Mrs. Knowles, the daughter of the Rev. 
Abraham Borradaile, the first vicar, and were the gift of 
her husband. The stained glass at the west end of the 
north side, near the vestry door, was placed there by the 
congregation in memory of the first wife of Mr. Borradaile, 
representing her as Dorcas. The window over the Vestry 
door was presented by Miss Evans, in memory of her 
father ; the two at the west end were given by Miss 
Colquhoun in remembrance of a friend connected \\'ith the 
church, and that near the organ was contributed by Martha 
Bradley, a valued servant of the first vicar, to the memory 
of her brother. On the sill of the east window, which 
contains representations of six New Testament subjects in 
coloured glass, is a brass commemorating the affectionate 
regard in which the Rev. George Rawlinson, one of the 
first curates, was held on account of his zealous labours in 
the parish. The brass lectern was added by the congre- 
gation as a tribute to the memory of the Rev. Abraham 
Borradaile, while the church is indebted to the efforts of the 
second Vicar, the Rev. Arthur George Warner for the 
organ, built by Holditch in 1874, the cost of which was 
defrayed by subscriptions, including one of ;£"ioo by the 
Worshipful Company of Grocers. 

The west gallery and the portico and door at the east 
end of the north side, were removed in 1888, when also a 
general cleaning and restoration of the interior was carried 
out, under Messrs. Powers, Clarke, and Micklethwaite, 

* Miss Jennings married the Rev. Henry Wagner, who was for upwards of 
fifty years rector of Brighton. 

226 IJic Ecclesiastical Divisions. 

architects, at a cost of ;£" 1,300, towards which the Incor- 
porated Society for Building Churches gave ;^50 on con- 
dition that all the seats should be free. 

The parsonage house was erected through the efforts of 
Archdeacon Jennings, who, " out of his own proper moneys " 
purchased the leasehold of the site. The cost of the build- 
ing was defrayed by the aid of an Order in Council dated 
nth August, 1 84 1, which directed the appropriation of 
£<^']0 1 8s. 2d. by the Governors of Queen Anne's Bounty 
to the purpose. 

The marriage register contains an entry of the union, 
in February, 185 1, of Charles Beans, a greengrocer, to 
Rebecca Bacon ; and in August, 1852, the congregation 
were surprised by the " asking " of a Mr. Buggs and a Miss 
Bedstead. When the happy morning came, however, the 
register was signed by Alfred Buggs and Elizabeth 

The living has been held successively by the Rev. 
Abraham Borradaile (i 841 -1873), formerly curate of the 
mother church (see p. 115) ; from 1873 to 1887 by the Rev. 
Arthur George Warner, also formerly a curate with Arch- 
deacon Jennings, and now rector of St. Mary-le-Bow ; and 
from the last named date to October, 1892, by the Rev. 
James Macarthur, formerly curate of St. Mary, Redcliff, 
Bristol, and rector ot Lamplugh, Cumberland, and now 
withdrawing on his acceptance of the vicarage of All 
Saints, South Acton. Attached to the church are flourish- 
ing day schools for 744 children. There are also Sunday 
schools and numerous agencies for promoting the welfare 
of the juvenile and adult parishioners. 


A few hundred paces along the south and east sides of 
Vincent-square bring us to the vicarage and schools of 
St. Stephen, which district was formed by an Order in 
Council gazetted on 28th May, 1847. Turning into 


St. StepJien^ Rochester Row. 227 

Rochester-row, and embracing the magnificent church in 
the view, we see in the whole, a block of buildings presenting 
an imposing contrast to that we have just left. When it is 
mentioned that the whole was built and endowed by 
the Baroness Burdett-Coutts (then Miss Angela Burdctt- 
Coutts), it is unnecessary to say that everything is as perfect 
as human effort and pious munificence can make it. 

" They dreamt not of a perishable home 
Who thus could build. Be mine in hours of fear 
Or grovelling thought, to seek a refuge here." 


The original outlay upon the site, buildings, furniture, 
and endowments, part of which was provided by the 
Ecclesiastical Commissioners, is stated by Mr. Walcott, in 
the second edition of his Memorials, to have been ;^7o,ooo ; 
it is now brought nearly to ^^"90,000. An elaborate des- 
scription of the church was published in the St. Stephens, 
Westminster, Historical Notes, and in the Parish Magazine 
of November, 1890, to which we are indebted for the 
following particulars and dimensions, all the measurements 
being internal : — 

The church consists of a nave, seventy-nine feet by twenty-six feet 
six inches wide, having north aisle eleven feet eight inches wide, and a 
south aisle thirteen feet wide, the difference in width being caused by 
the configuration of the site, scarcely noticeable in execution. The 
north porch, next to Rochester Row, is of fine proportions eleven feet 
three inches wide, by twelve feet long, and is placed in the second bay 
from the west. There is also a west doorway to the nave. The 
chancel arch is of majestic proportions consisting of triplet shafts 
having capitals handsomely carved. The chancel is unusually long 
(forty seven feet) in proportion to its width, or in fact as chancels go, 
as it is twenty feet six inches wide. There is a south chancel aisle 
thirteen feet wide by fifteen feet long, divided from the chancel by an 
archway filled in with a rich traceried and crenellated oak perforated 
screen. On the north side of the chancel is a somewhat similar arch 
and screen opening out into the tower, the ground story of which is 
devoted principally to the organ. Here is an unusually wide, thick, 
and handsomely panelled arch. Another noteworthy feature in the 
structure is the great buttress on the west side of the tower necessarily 
from its situation pi ejecting into the north nave aisle. Instead of 
being an eyesore and obstruction it is made an attractive object by the 

228 TJie Ecclesiastical Divisiofis. 

skilful manner in which its face is delicately panelled. Moreover, 
through it is continued the approach to the pulpit. This is also according 
to the mediieval spirit, i.e., the conquering of constructional difficulties 
instead of shirking them. Thus much for the ground plan of 
St. Stephen's. 

The materials used are, for the general walling, Bargate rag-stone, 
from Godalming, and for the quoins and dressings externally, Morpeth 
(Northumberland) Sandstone. Caen stone is used for this purpose in 
the interior. The whole of the woodwork internally is oak, i.e., roofs, 
benches, choir-seats, doors, &c., and also the screens on the north and 
south sides of the chancel, dividing off respectively the tower and the 
south chancel aisle. Externally, all the roofs are covered with lead of 
more than the usual weight, still happily in an excellent state of 
preservation. The walls internally are rough stuccoed and decorated 
in colour. The passages of the nave and aisles are paved with plain 
six-inch black and red tiles ; but in the chancel Minton's tiles, of a 
more ornamental description and pattern, have been employed. In 
order to enrich and emphasize the risers of the steps in the chancel, 
lacquered brass perforated texts have been fixed to them. 

There are five bays to the nave arcade, the pillars of which are of 
handsomely moulded form with carved capitals, greatly varied, the 
pier on the north side next the pulpit being particularly noticeable, as 
it is made a feature by having twelve sculptured heads, portraits 
representing noteworthy personages connected with or interested in 
the church at the time it was built. This carving was executed by the 
late Mr. G. Peter White, of Vauxhall-bridge-road, who afterwards 
carried out extensive works of restoration as contractor at Wells, 
Rochester and Salisbury Cathedrals. The capitals are much varied, 
with carvings of birds, flowers, and many varieties of leafage. There 
is a lofty clerestory to the nave, with two-light windows, the windows 
to the aisles being tliree-light, with elegant tracery. The roof to the 
nave is open timbered, the principal trusses having collars and arched 
braces carried on moulded stone shafts. The aisle roofs also have 
principals with arched braces, the spandrils of which are filled in with 
ornamental tracery. West of the chancel arch is placed a handsome 
oak faldstool. The brass eagle lectern was presented to the church 
at Easter, 1888, by the penny subscriptions of the St. Stephen's Guild. 
There are seven steps up to the Altar. The clergy vestry is on the 
ground story of the tower, behind the organ. The seats to the body 
of the church are handsomely moulded and panelled, and have 
square ends, with miniature buttresses. In the chancel there are 
sixteen stalls, with handsome bookboard, having richly traceried fronts, 
the westernmost stall on the south side being advanced a little more 
as a clergy reading desk. The font is of Caen stone, octagonal in 
plan, with sculptured lambs at each angle of the base. It is of very 
handsome design with sculptured panels containing the following 
subjects : — The Circumcision ; Baptism of Our Lord ; Our Lord 
blessing little children ; and the Resurrection, The remaining four 

Architectural features of St. Stephen's chu7'c/i. 229 

panels are occupied by shields bearing emblems of the Passion. The 
pulpit is also of Caen stone, oblong in plan at the base set at an angle 
of fortj'-five degrees, and with a three-sided corbelled front, richly 
panelled and carved with angels' heads. The sedilia are three in 
number, with rich stone canopies against the wall ; they are lined with 
richly embroidered velvet. 

There is a very elaborate mural memorial of Mr. Brown, containing 
sculptured subjects all executed in alabaster. This is placed on the 
north wall of the north aisle, just to the east of the north doorway. 
On the opposite side, on the south aisle wall, is a bust of the first 
vicar, the Rev. William Tennant, carried on a handsome carved stone 
corbel. There are also some memorial brasses on the walls. Hand- 
some lacquered brass brackets, in character with the architecture of 
the church, carry curtains to the north and west doorways. The 
principal doorways to the west and south of the church are treated 
more ornamentally internally than is usual in parish churches, having 
shafts and moulded stone arches. The hinges and door furniture are 
also very rich and elaborate, all, of course, executed in wrought iron. 
The painted glass is principally by Wailes, of Newcastle, except where 
there are the diapered cjuarries invented by Powell, of Whitefriars. 

The tower, standing on the north side of the chancel, is thirteen feet 
(internally) and seventy-six feet high from the ground level to the top 
of the parapet. At the angles are semi-octagonal turrets having bold 
projecting buttresses, with crocketed gablets at each set-off, four in 
number, the turrets terminating with octagonal pinnacles above the 
parapet, having cusped gablets, and ornamented with carving and 
crochets at the angles. In the tunet at the north-west angle is the 
staircase leading to the belfry and other stages of the tower. On each 
side at the parapet level is a richly-carved niche, carried on moulded 
stone shafts, containing the figure of a saint. At the belfry stage are 
two two-light windows on each side, deeply moulded and filled in with 
louvres. . . . The octagonal spire rises 102 feet from the top of 
the parapets to the top of the capping, and has three tiers of spire- 
lights arranged on four sides, and the angles of the spire are finished 
with a bold roll moulding. The cap stone is surmounted with orna- 
mental ironwork and weather vane. All the external walls of the 
church and porch are finished on top with stone parapets, that to the 
nave having a carved string under it. The chancel parapets are 
pierced, forming rich flowing cusped tracery, the strings under being 
enriched with the ball-flower ornament. The buttresses are all enriched 
at the set-offs and terminations with crocketed and cusped gablets, and 
those at the east end of the chancel are carried up to form richly- 
panelled pinnacles, and finished with crocketed gablets and carved 

The buttresses to the north porch are also enriched with cusped 
panels, and in the gable is a moulded niche containing the figure of 
the patron Saint. The north and west doorways have very richly 
moulded arches and jambs with carved capitals, and the labels of the 
doors and windows have various carved heads at their terminations. 

230 TJic Ecclesiastical Divisions. 

On the south side of the chancel a new Choir Vestry and Parish 
Room has been erected, twenty-five feet three inches long and eighteen 
feet wide, and a corridor formed between the external wall of south 
chancel aisle and the adjoining Townshend School buildings, giving 
communication between the new structure and the Church, the 
entrance being under a new moulded archway immediately west of the 
chancel aisle. The corridor windows are glazed with white cathedral 
glass set in lead of ornamental patterns. The entrance doors are of 
oak, hung on ornamental strap hinges. 

During the erection of the new Choir Vestry, &c., extensive cleaning 
and repairs were carried out in the Church from the drawings, and 
under the superintendence of Mr. B. Edmund Kerrey, F.S.A., of 15, 
Spring Gardens, S.W., son of the late Benjamin Ferrey, F.S.A., the 
Architect of the Church, Vicarage, and Schools. 

In connection with this restoration the warming apparatus 
was renewed, the electric Hght installed, and, at a cost of 
;^655, a new organ, by Gern, built. 

The church records, some of which were reprinted in 
the Historical Notes above referred to, contain the following 
account of the ceremony of laying the foundation stone, 
which took place on St. Margaret's Day, 20th July, 1847 : — 
" At two o'clock the procession entered the enclosure, preceded by 
the officials bearing their silver staves. Amongst those present were : 
— Miss Angela Burdett-Coutts (who was accompanied by Lady King, 
Lady Antrobus, Miss Burdett, and Mrs. Ramsden), The Lord Bishop 
of London, The Lord Bishop of Oxford, Earl Brownlow, Lord Sandon, 
M.P., Lord Ashley, The Very Rev. Dr. Buckland, Dean of Westmins- 
ter, The Ven. John Sinclair, M.A., Archdeacon of Middlesex, The 
Rev. Lord John Thynne, M.A., Canon of Westminster, The Ven. 
Archdeacon Bentinck, Foster Owen, Esq., High Constable of West- 
minster, The Right Rev. Dr. Short, Bishop of Adelaide, South Aus- 
tralia (the new See endowed by Miss Coutis), The Lord Bishop of 
Tasmania, Sir Frederick Trench, Colonel Stuart, The Rev. Edward 
Repton, M.A., Canon of Westminster, and a large number of clergy. 
The general arrangements were under the superintendence of the 
High Constable. A large number of persons assembled, and the walls 
and housetops commanding a view of the ceremony were fringed with 

" The appointed office was read by The Bishop of London, and 
three of the Canons of the Abbey Church of Westminster. 

" The bottle of coins and the inscription plate being placed within 
the stone. Miss Coutts spread the mortar with an elegant trowel ; the 
stone was then lowered from the tramway, and it being adjusted the 
Foundress said : — 

" ' We place this foundation stone in faith and hope to the glory of 
God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.' 

'''Church, steeple, bells, and all!' 231 

" Miss Coutts then slightly struck the stone thrice with the mallet." 

A Hymn was next sung by children of the Grey Coat, Green Coat, 
Blue Coat, and Emery Hill's Schools. 

A Psalm and three other Prayers and Collects were then read, and 
the Bishop of London addressed the assembly and pronounced the 
Blessing ; after which " God save the Queen " was sung, and the con- 
gregation dispersed ; three cheers being given as they retired from the 

The church, we should add, has seats for from 850 to 900 persons ; 
and on the day of consecration there were nearly 1,500 present. 

The schools, which accommodate nearly 1,000 children, are of ex- 
tremely picturesque design, and their gabled roof and moulded chim- 
nies add much to the appearance and character of the building". 

The weights, notes, and inscriptions on St. Stephen's bells are as 
follows : — 

Tenor U 24 o 18 " Unto our God for ever and 
ever. Amen. Halleluiah." 
7th E 18 o 10 " Might." 
6th F 14 o 2 " Power." 


5th G II 30 " Honour." 

4th A 9213 " Thanksgiving," 
3rd B 842" Wisdom." 

2nd C 7 118 " Glory." 


Treble D 6 2 22 " Blessing." 
Total weight : 5 tons 2 qrs. i lb. 
An octave in the key of U. 

Hears, London.— MDCCCL. 

The Persian silk curtain which hangs over the pulpit was presented 
to the Church by the great Duke of Wellington. It was taken from 
the tent of Tippoo Sahib, at the storming of Seringapatam. It is 
tapestry work of the i6th century. 

The Vicarage has been held by the following : — 
1849 — 1879. Rev. William Tennant (deceased). 

1880 — 1889. Ven. William Macdonald Sinclair, Archdeacon of Lon- 
don, and Canon of St. Paul's. 
1889. Rev. William Henry Greaves Twining. 

By an Order in Council on the 4th April, 1856, all future 
burials in the church are prohibited, with the exception of 
the noble foundress and Mrs. Brown, one of her ladyship's 
many personal friends, the widow of a gentleman who had 
been laid in a vault at the date of the Order. 

Connected with the church are the Townshend Schools, 
besides the National Schools already mentioned, which 

P 2 

232 The Ecclesiastical Divisions. 

maintain the high position they have long held among the 
schools in the Westminster Division. There are also some 
thirty agencies for ameliorating the condition of the people 
in the midst of whom the church is placed, and the 
majority of whom are described as " day labourers, cab- 
drivers, cab-washers, washerwomen and charwomen, slop- 
workers, and the like." 

A very short walk eastward from Rochester-row brings 
us to one of the very poorest districts of the metropolis — 
worse even than the locality which Dickens described as 
" the dingiest collection of shabby buildings ever squeezed 
together in a rank corner as a club for Tom cats " — a 
district of which Cardinal Wiseman spoke as " slums " — 
and such a district as the late lamented Poet Laureate 
delineated in his Maud forty years ago : — 

Peace sitting under her olive, and slurring the days gone by, 

When the poor are hovell'd and hustled together, each sex, 
like swine. 
When only the ledger lives, and when only not all men lie ; 

Peace in her vineyard — yes I — but a company forges the wine. 
And the vitriol madness flushes up in the ruffian's head, 

Till the filthy by-lane rings to the yell of the trampled wife ; 
And chalk and alum and plaster are sold to the poor for bread,* 

And the spirit of murder works m the very means of life ; 
And sleep must lie down arm'd, for the villanous centre-bits 

Grind on the wakeful ear in the hush of the moonless nights, 
While another is cheating the sick of a few last gasps as he sits, 

To pestle a poison'd poison behind his crimson lights. 

The author of Ragged London, '^vikiXx'^&A in 1862, after 
relating his experiences on visiting many of the dirty and 
repulsive dwellings occupied by Irish labourers in the 
vicinity of the gas works, declared them to be all brightness 
and purity when compared with other places near. " Enter," 
he says, " a narrow street called St. Ann's-lane, glance at a 
fearful side-place called St. Ann's-court, and wonder if ever 
such filth and squalor can be exceeded. The court had 
* The Adulteration of Food Acts were not passed at this time, 

Light dawns hi a dark place. 233 

every feature of a sewer, and a long puddle of filth soaked 
in a hollow centre. The passages of the low black huts 
on either side were like old sooty chimneys. As I turned 
round to leave the place, I caught a glimpse of several 
rough, long-haired heads peeping round the edges of the 

Accompanying the same author into an adjoining 
street — let us remember he wrote more than thirty years 
ago — he remarks that " many of the houses have no floor- 
ing in their passages, and there is nothing for the barefooted 
children to stand upon but the black, damp, uneven earth. 
A child, dirty and nearly naked, was hanging out of one of 
the old-fashioned casement windows ; and in the summer 
time it is no unusual thing to see about fifty coarse women 
exhibiting themselves in the same manner." Our author 
summarises his reference to the moral and social degradation 
of the locality by declaring that, " of all the criminal districts 
in London, it is now the worst." 

" Here was no pavement, no inviting" shop, 
To give us shelter when compelled to stop ; 
But plashy puddles stood along the way. 
Filled by the rain of one tempestuous day, 
And these so closely to the buildings run. 
That you must ford them, for you could not shun ; 
Though here and there convenient bricks were laid, 
And door-side heaps afforded dubious aid." 


In the very midst of this district stands a church, so 
irregular in its ground plan, and so hemmed in with houses, 
as to indicate the distortions it had to undergo in its struggle 
to obtain admission into the territory of gloom. Although 
the freehold of the site was given by the Dean and Chapter, 
possession had to be acquired piecemeal, as opportunity 
offered for the purchase of the leases of the miserable 
houses. The absence of compulsory powers of purchase, 
and the unwillingness of some of the lessees to sell, rendered 
it impossible to obtain a site which would afford space for 
the schools, and at the same time admit of a reasonable 

234 ^■^'^^' Ecclcsiasticat Divisions. 

frontage for the church. Consequently the church is in a 
great measure concealed from the passer-by, the principal 
views being from narrow openings on Great Peter-street 
and St. Ann's-lane. 

" No more — the time 
Is conscious of her want ; through England's bounds, 
In rival haste, the wished-for temples rise I 
I hear their Sabbath bells' harmonious chime 
Float on the breeze — the heavenliest of all sounds." 


The foundation stone was laid on Thursday, 8th November, 
1849, in the presence of many of the clergy and nobility 
and of a great crowd of spectators. The proceedings com- 
menced with a special service in the parish church of St. 
John the Evangelist, at which the sermon was preached by 
the Bishop of London. A procession was then formed 
consisting of the Bishop of London, Lord Robert Grosvenor, 
M.P., the High Bailiff of Westminster, the Dean of St. 
Paul's, Canons Frere. Wordsworth, and Repton, Archdeacon 
Bentinck, Rev. John Jennings, Rev. L. Mackenzie, the Rev. 
V. K. Child, Rev. S. P. Davies, Rev. A. Borradaile, Rev. W. 
Tennant, Rev. W. Jephson, Rev. R. Hooper, Rev. H. James. 
Rev. W. H. Davies, Rev. C. W. Page, Rev. H. Wilson, Rev. 
W. Cope, Rev. W. Harden, Rev. J. L. Wigglesworth, Rev. 
E. Edwards, and the churchwardens and other officers of 
the united parishes. The Bishop of London read the 
prayers and psalms, and the Rev. A. Borradaile the portion 
of scripture, the singing of the Old Hundredth being led by 
the children from the school in Old Pye-street. The stone 
was laid by Lord Robert Grosvenor. 

The church, which is in the early decorated style, was 
designed by the late Sir Gilbert Scott for the accommoda- 
tion of twelve hundred * worshippers, and cost between 
£\2fyQ)0 and i^i 3,000, which was raised by subscriptions 
through the efforts of Archdeacon Jennings and his assis- 

* The number of seats has since been reduced liy nearly three hundred, l^y 
the removal of the gallery from the south aisle. 

St. Matthew, Great Peter-street. 23 ^ 

tant clergy, aided by grants from the Dean and Chapter 
and the Incorporated Church Building Society. The tower 
and spire have not been completed. The chancel is lighted 
by a bold east window of five lights, and by three windows 
on the south and one on the north side, the remainder of 
that side being occupied by the chancel aisle and vestry. 
The nave, with its aisles, consists of five bays or arches, and 
is chiefly lighted from the clerestory and from a large west 
window which is above the surrounding houses. The nave 
and chancel occupying the whole available area of that part 
of the site lying east and west, but not affording the re- 
quired accommodation, a third aisle is constructed into the 
southern arm of the ground, so that the nave has one aisle 
on the north and two on the south. The principal entrance 
is on the south side, through the unfinished tower ; there _ 
are also doors on the west side and on the north-east in St. 

A carved oak screen, presented by Mr. William Gibbs, 
who was a liberal donor to the funds for the church and its 
various agencies, divides the second south porch from the 
nave, by which means the aisle is made serviceable as a 
chapel. All the chancel windows, with those in the east 
end and the south aisle, were ornamented with coloured 
glass during the incumbency of the first vicar, and another 
in the north aisle, representing St. Agnes and St. Elizabeth 
of Hungary, was added in memory of Miss Mengens during 
the incumbency of Rev. W. H. Turle, by whom the lectern 
was given in memory of his mother. 

The second window in the north aisle was the gift of the 
relatives of Dr. Nathanael Rogers, who died in 1868 ; the 
east window was presented by the family of the late Mr, 
Waterfield, of Dean's-yard, and a few other donors ; those 
in the chancel are due to the generosity of Capt. Dighton, 
Mrs. Waterfield, Mr. Pearse, and Mr. Carter Wood. The 
' arcading ' in the chancel was a tribute to the memory of 
Capt. Dibdin Dighton, who died in 1882; and there is a 

236 The Ecclesiastical Divisions. 

tablet to the memory of Mr. Thomas Freeman, who died on 
loth January, 1865. 

In close contiguity to the church are well attended 
national schools, a convenient Mission room in constant 
use for a variety of parochial purposes, and a commodious 
clergy house and parish hall recently erected at a cost 
exceeding i^ 1,000, raised by donations through the untiring 
exertions of the present vicar. 

The living, which was for many years a perpetual 
curacy, has been held by : — 

1851-66. The Rev. Richard Malone, of Queen's College, Cam- 
bridge, where he graduated M.A. 1849. He had previously 
held curacies at Bexhill, Sussex (1846-7), St. Michael, Pimlico 
(1849), and the perpetual curacy of Christ Church, Plymouth 
(1849-50). Mr. Malone, on leaving St. Matthew's, became 
vicar of St. Paul, Cornwall (1866-76), and of Potton, Beds 
(1876-87). He now resides at Penzance, and is a licensed 
preacher in the diocese of Truro. 

1866-84. The Rev. Willam Honey Turle, of New College, Oxford, 
eldest son of James Turle, organist of Westminster Abbey. 
He graduated B.A. in 185 1, M.A., 1855, and was ordained 
priest by the Bishop of London in the same year. He had 
previously held a curacy at the parish church of St. John the 
Evangelist (1854-66), and is now vicar of Horsell, near 

1884. The Rev. William Bouverie Trevelyan, the present vicar, 
who graduated M.A. in 1879, and was formerly curate of St. 
Giles, Reading (1877-79), and Calverton, Bucks (1879-81). 
Mr. Trevelyan was vice-principal of Ely College from 1881 
to 1884. 

To the self-sacrificing labours of these faithful ministers 
and their colleagues is mainly due the amelioration of the 
condition of the parish, which, according to the last published 
return, contains nearly 8,000 souls. True, there is much 
yet to be done ; much to call for the active sympathy of 
all thoughtful people with the patient endeavours of the 
clergy — there are few parishes in which it is not so ; but 
we do not hear, nowadays, of organised attempts to prevent 
the services in the church from proceeding, or of such 
depravity as existed at the time the church was founded. 

Base ingratitude. 237 

During the cholera epidemic of 1848, a medical gentleman 
was called to visit a sufferer in one of the streets on which 
the church now abuts. While stooping over the poor 
creature to administer medicine, with which he was pro- 
vided in readiness, his coat pockets were emptied of their 
contents by the dying woman's husband ! At the first 
services in the new church, the inhabitants of the courts 
mustered in force to interrupt the worship by the beating 
of empty barrels, the breaking of the windows, and other 
disorderly conduct. They also stole stack-pipes, iron 
gratings, and such other things as could be removed, while 
the scripture reader was assaulted and nearly killed. We 
are not surprised, therefore, that the Rev. Richard Malone 
records that the condition of the parish when he com- 
menced his ministry in 1851 was "very sad" — such as to 
remind us of Milton's comprehensive lines — 

" Where peace 
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes. 
That comes to all." 

Now, to say the least, such depredation and violence 
have ceased, and the clergy are received with civility, which 
is extended to those who, as lay helpers, co-operate with 
them. Many are the causes to which so welcome a change 
is attributable. Mr. Malone wrote in November, 1891, " In 
Old Pye-street, Duck-lane, St. Ann's-street, and the adjacent 
courts, numbers of street beggars and thieves lodged. A 
class of blind beggars was opened numbering over 60: they 
were taught to read, and many afterwards attended the 
church services. An industrial school was opened for the 
street boys, who were taught to make paper bags and to set 
up type ; and many were placed in good situations. A re- 
fuge for thieves was also opened in Great Smith-street, and 
nearly a hundred of these men, in process of regeneration, 
were induced to attend the services of the church." Social 
meetings were organised by a band of ladies for the en- 
tertainment of the poor in the winter evenings ; an infant 

5 3^ TJie Ecclesiastical Division^. 

nursery was established with great success ; scripture 
readers, mission women, and a nurse to attend the sick 
poor at their homes were engaged ; a cookery class was set 
on foot for the double purpose of instructing girls and young 
women in cooking and for supplying the sick and the very 
poor with properly cooked food, and besides the schools at- 
tached to the church, there were no less than five ragged 
schools in the parish. Clubs, penny-banks, bible classes, and 
mothers' meetings were among the other movements set on 
foot, in addition to which Mrs. Buckland, the wife of the 
then Dean of Westminster, took a leading part in the es- 
tablishment of a reading and refreshment room in Old 
Pye-street for working-men, to which Her Majesty the Queen 
contributed ^^"50 as a token of her approval and sympathy. 

A provident loan society also conferred much benefit 
upon its members by advancing them, under proper regula- 
tions, small sums of money to purchase barrows, or to 
renew their "stock-in-trade" after illness or other misfortune. 
Mr. Malone concludes his remarkable list of benevolent 
agencies by observing, as an illustration of the extreme 
poverty of some of the people, that " many of the bereaved 
mothers were unable to clothe themselves in any kind of 
mourning to attend the funerals of their relatives or 
children. We provided suits of mourning to lend to such 
poor people, and scarcely any other help was received with 
more gratitude." 

In 1863-4 model dwellings for nearly 600 persons were 
erected in Old Pye-street by Mr. W. Gibbs, who also con- 
tributed upwards of £200 per annum towards the engage- 
ment of an additional curate and a mission-woman. In 
1877-8 a large area was cleared of its unhealthy dwellings 
under an improvement scheme carried out by the Metro- 
politan Board of Works, and two large blocks of dwellings 
for the industrial classes have since been erected thereon by 
the Trustees of the Peabody Fund. These changes, with a 
systematic supervision of the lodging houses by the police, 

Archdeacon Bentinck's muntficence. 239 

and a more diligent enforcement of sanitary laws in recent 
years, have combined, with the untiring efforts of the clergy 
and their lay helpers — for nearly all the parts of the 
parochial machinery, with slight alterations in detail and 
in name, continue in active operation — to raise the parish 
to a condition which bears a favourable comparison with 
what it was when the church was consecrated in July, 185 1. 

At the termination of the ceremony of laying the founda- 
tion stone of St. Matthew's Church, the procession re-formed 
and directed its steps towards the south-east end of Vauxhall 
bridge-road, where, to meet the wants of the new district 
then .rapidly developing, a site for a new church in Bess- 
borough-gardens had been given by Mr. Thomas Cubitt, 
M.P., the ground landlord of the estate. 

" Be this the chosen site ; — the virgin sod, 
Moistened from age to age by dewy eve, 
Shall disappear — and grateful earth receive 
The corner-stone from hands that build to God." 


Arrived at the site, a similar ceremony was performed to 
that which the assembly had shared in two hours previously, 
except that in this instance the stone was " well and truly 
laid " by Mrs. Bentinck, the wife of Archdeacon Bentinck, 
by whose munificence the cost of the building, amounting 
to ;^ 1 7,000, was defrayed. In the course of his address, 
Dr. Blomfield declared it to be the only instance within his 
experience in which the foundation stones of two churches 
had been laid in one civil parish on the same day. The 
Latin inscription on the stone may be translated as follows: — 

" The first stone of this Church, intended to be erected at the sole 
expense of the Rev. W. H. Bentinck, M.A., Archdeacon and Preben- 
dary of Westminster, was laid on the i8th November, 1849, by Mrs. 
Frances Elizabeth Bentinck ; C. J. Blomfield, U.D., being at the time 
Bishop of the Diocese, the Rev. John Jennings, M.A., Rector of St. 
John's, and the Rev. A. Borradaile, M.A., Perpetual Curate of the 

246 The Ecclesiastical Divisions. 

The church was consecrated in 1852, at which time it was 
looked upon as one of the best specimens of the Enghsh 
gothic of the early decorated style then in vogue. It was 
one of the first of the many ecclesiastical structures which 
we owe to our great living architect, Mr. J. L. Pearson, 
R.A. In plan it is cruciform, and consists of a nave and 
aisles, transepts, with tower and spire at the crossing nearly 
200 feet high, supported at the four corners by massive and 
well-proportioned clustered columns, a chancel slightly 
wider than the nave, small chapel on the south side, in 
which is a fine window of four lights representing the 
principal miracles of our Lord, and vestry and organ 
chamber on the north. The nave is lighted by a clerestory 
and a large and richly traceried west window. It is divided 
into five bays by pillars of varying plan, either circular, 
octagonal, or clustered shafts. The north and south porches 
are near the west end of the aisles, and are barrel vaulted 
in stone. The remainder of the church, with the excep- 
tion of the lantern under the tower, has open timbered 
roofs, those of the nave, chancel, and transepts having 
curved principles and hammer beams. 

The tower is open internally to a height of fifty-five feet, 
and forms a lantern, which is groined over in stone, and 
the effect of the light shining through the coloured windows 
of this lantern is very beautiful. The altar is raised six 
steps above the level of the nave, and is placed on a foot- 

The east window, architecturally a very noble one, con- 
tains seven lights, with geometrical tracery above ; the 
centre light represents the Crucifixion, with the raising and 
descent from the Cross on either side ; next to these the 
Resurrection and the Ascension, with the charge to St. 
Peter and the ' Touch me not ' on the extreme left and 
right. This coloured glass was given by the congregation 
in 1 87 1 in memory of the incumbency of the Rev. Dr. 

Holy Trinity, VaiixJiall bridge-i'oad. 241 

There are some good carved oak stalls in the chancel, 
which is paved with encaustic tiles. 

The organ, which was built in 1852, is by Walker. The 
fine tower contains a frame for six bells, but only one, 
about 12 cwt, in G, has been placed in it, the founders 
being Messrs. John Taylor & Co., of Loughborough. 

The vicarage has been held by the following : — 

1852-1864. The Rev. C. F. Secretan of Wadham College, Oxford ; 
B.A. 1842, M.A. 1847. (Deceased.) 

1 864- 1 870. The Rev. William Reyner Cosens, D.D., of Hertford 
College, Oxford. He graduated M.A. in 1855, and B.D. and 
D.D. in 1872. He had previously held the curacies of 
Warminster, Wilts (1853); Laverstock, Wilts (1854); the 
rectory of St. Andrew, Chichester, 1855-57; he was secretary 
to the Additional Curates Society, 1857-65 ; and is now vicar 
of Dudley. 

1870. The present vicar is the Rev. George Miller, M.A., of 
Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he took his B.A. degree in 
1862, and M.A. in 1866. He was curate of the mother 
Church from 1865 to 1870. 

The patronage of the living, which originally vested in 
Archdeacon Bentinck, who partially endowed it, was 
transferred to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster by an 
Order in Council, dated 25th November, 1863. 

The parish, which contained a population of 7071 accord- 
ing to the last published returns, has excellent national 
schools for 634 children situated in the Vauxhall bridge- 
road, where also a larger number attend the Sunday Schools. 
In the same road, at the corner of Roehampton-street is a 
clergy-house, and a parish room capable of seating upwards 
of 100 persons. The parochial organisation includes the Guild 
of the Holy Trinity for those who assist in the parish work ; 
the Guild of St. Andrew, for lads and youths, to which is 
attached a gymnasium and recreation rooms ; the Guild of 
St. Mary, for girls ; a Church Burial Guild ; a branch of the 
Church Temperance Guild, and a club room for the choir, 
which numbers upwards of sixty members ; besides a soup 

242 The Ecclesiastical Divisions. 

kitchen, a children's dinner fund and many other charities 
for the benefit of the sick and poor whose requirements are 
unceasingly studied. 


Immediately adjoining the district we have just left is 
that of St. James-the-Less, the most recently formed 
ecclesiastical division in 'our parish,' and another monument 
of the individual munificence to which the poorer part of 
Westminster is indebted for its extension of church work. 
The church and schools were erected on a site given by the 
Dean and Chapter of Westminster at the sole cost of the 
Misses Monk, as a memorial to their father who, before his 
consecration as Bishop of Gloucester, had been many years 
a canon of Westminster. 

The style of architecture adopted for the church by the 
late Mr. George Edmund Street was Lombardic Venetian.* 
with a campanile tower, and attracted much attention for 
some time after the opening of the church as being one of 
his most successful works. 

The church, which affords seating accommodation for 
6(X) persons, consists of a nave and chancel, with north and 
south aisles to both. It has a detached steeple, forming an 
ante-porch, with porch connecting it with the north aisle, 
The height of the tower and slated porch is 1 34 feet. The 
materials used are mainly red and black bricks, stone, and 
marble. The apse has windows of three lights, with a rose- 
window in the head, filled with stained glass, representing 
types and anti-types of Christ. Between these descend the 
groining-ribs, to rest upon banded shafts of polished marble. 
The reredos below the line of lights is of white stone inlaid 
(with a black composition) with figures of holy women, 
commencing on the left with Mary the mother of James, 
then Mary Magdalene, St. Elizabeth, and the Virgin Mary ; 
then, on the other side of the reredos proper, come the wife 

* Mr. Timbs classifies the style as Byzantine Gothic. 

Interior of St. Janies-the-Less. 243 

of Manoah, Hannah, Ruth, and Sarah. Bands of red and 
yellow tiles are inserted between these figures, which are 
represented in niches, dividing them into twos. 

Immediately over the altar is a cross of vari-coloured 
Irish marbles, set with studs of Derbyshire spar. Within 
the apse come the transept aisles ; in that on the left is the 
organ. Two drop arches, on broad shafts of polished 
granite, with carved caps, and resting on tall plinths (the 
height of the choir seats), divide these transept aisles from 
the choir. Each transept aisle is, in itself, divided by a 
shaft of Bath stone in its centre, whence spring arches to 
the side piers of the choir. The two shafts which are on 
each side of the nave are of polished red granite, with bands 
of Bath stone midway of their heights ; the caps are carved, 
illustrative of the parables and miracles. Over the chancel 
arch is a fresco painted by G. F. Watts, representing a 
sitting figure of Our Lord in the centre, with groups of 
angels on each side, and the four Evangelists below, on a 
gold ground. The pulpit is of stone and marble, and is 
very richly sculptured by Earp ; it contains figures of the 
four Doctors of the Western Church and the four Evange- 
lists, and on the panels, which are divided from each other by 
shafts of green marble, are illustrations of preaching : — 
I. St. John the Baptist, preaching; 2. Dispute with the 
Doctors ; 3. The Sermon on the Mount ; 4. St. Augustine 
of Canterbury, preaching. The chancel gates are of wrought 
iron and ornamental brasswork. The pavement of the 
body of the church is formed of Maw's tiles, and that of the 
chancel has marble inserted. The steps leading to the 
chancel and altar are of black Isle of Man limestone. The 
roof has been painted by Clayton and Bell, with the Tree 
of Jesse and the Genealogy of Our Lord, typical busts of 
the personages being introduced in medallions along the 
sides of the span in a line on either hand. The stained 
glass throughout is also by Clayton and Bell. 

The two windows in the nave and that in the apse were 

244 ^-^^^ liccksiastical Dzvisions. 

the gift of the late Mrs. Monk; nine of those in the aisles 
were presented by the late Sir H. A. Hunt, the remaining 
seven in the aisles were the result of the collections made 
by the Penny Association connected with the church, and 
that in the south-east end was provided by Mrs. Tucker, in 
memory of her husband, the late Mr. F. J. Tucker, for many 
years one of the churchwardens. There is a tablet in the 
south wall to the memory of Bishop Monk. The splendid 
alabaster font and its brass surroundings, together with the 
handsome brass lectern, were contributed by the congrega- 
tion, the lectern in record of the unceasing liberality of the 
Misses Monk to the church and the parish during more 
than thirty years. These ladies have recently added to 
the schools they erected in 1865 for 500 children, a new 
infants' school, a parish room and a choir vestry. 

For its endowment the living is indebted to the Dean 
and Chapter of Westminster and the Ecclesiastical Com- 

The district was formed by an Order in Council dated 
26th April, 1862, for the relief of that of St. Mary the Vir- 
gin, Tothill-fields, and occupies the area lying between the 
west side of the Vauxhall bridge-road and the east side of 
Tachbrook-street, with Churton-street on the north and 
Moreton-street on the south. The residents are, with the 
exception of a few tradesmen, almost entirely of the work- 
ing classes and the very poor. In the interests of the latter 
numerous provident societies and clubs have been established 
and maintained by the unwearying liberality and personal 
assistance of many of the congregation who reside beyond 
the limits of the parish ; a creche, for the care of infants 
while their mothers are at work, has been open for more 
than twenty-five years, and similar religious and charitable 
agencies to those existing in the parishes already described 
are zealously conducted for the welfare of the inhabitants. 

The first vicar was the Rev. George David William 
Dickson, of Exeter College, Oxford, where he graduated 


TJie Roman Catholic ClmrcJi. 245 

M.A. in 1849. He was formerly curate of St. Michael, 
Chester-square, and having held the living of St James-the- 
Less from 1861 to 1889, left it to take the vicarage of King's 
Somborne with Little Somborne, and the rectory of Upper 
Eldon, Hants. According to Crockford for 1892 the last- 
named parish has a population of six persons. 

The present vicar is the Rev. William Lowery Blackley, 
of Trinity College, Dublin; B.A., 1851 ; M.A., 1854; 
F.S.S., 1885 ; hon. canon of Winchester, 1884. Canon 
Blackley was formerly curate of St. Peter, Southwark 
(1854), curate of Frensham, Surrey (1854-67), rector of 
North Waltham, Hants (1867-83), rector of Upper (1885-9), 
and vicar of King's with Lower Somborne, Hants (1883-9). 
Canon Blackley is author of The FritJiiof Saga, or Lay of 
FritJiiof, from the Sivedish of Esaias Tegncr, 1857; The 
Practical German Dictionary, Longmans, 1866 ; The Cri- 
tical English (Nezv) Testament, 3 vols., Strahan, 1866-7 ; 
and Word Gossip, Longmans, 1 869. 

Retracing our steps preparatory to commencing a cursory 
glance at some of the streets in the parish we need only 
pause to notice 


This small and unpretentious building in Horseferry-road 
was erected in 181 3, mainly through the efforts of the Rev. 
W. Hurst, the learned Professor of Theology at Valladolid, 
and translator of the writings of the Venerable Bede. It 
was enlarged and beautified in 1852, and is now served by 
the Fathers of the Jesuit Order. The sculpture over the 
alter represents the Annunciation of our Lady, and is said 
to possess great artistic merit. The sculptor was Phyffers. 

From the Reformation down to 1792 there was no recog- 
nised place of worship for those of the Roman Catholic 
faith in Westminster. In that year a small chapel was 
opened in York-street ; but the services were discontinued 
from want of funds in 1798. In 1802 the chaplains of the 

246 hJonconforinist places of ivorship. 

Neapolitan Embassy inaugurated services in Great Smith- 
street, which, however, only continued three years. A 
temporary chapel was next opened in Dartmouth-street, 
where the congregation continued to assemble until the 
present church was opened. 

At the corner of Vincent-square and Rochester-row, on 
the site now occupied by a part of St. Stephen's Schools, 
was a temporary iron building in 1846-8, which was used 
as a place of worship by the " Irvingites," whose services 
are now conducted in the Catholic Apostolic Church in 
that part of Orchard-street which is in St. Margaret's 

The other places of worship which present themselves to 
our view are the Wesleyan Chapel in Horseferry-road, 
facing Regency-street, noticed in connection with the 
Wesleyan Training College in chapter XV., and the 
Romney-street Baptist Chapel founded in 1805. 

''Relic of nobler days and noblest arts!' 247 

Chapter IX. 


Lo I must tell a tale of chivalry ; 

Vot large white plumes are dancing in mine eye 

Not like the formal crest of latter days : 

But bending in a thousand graceful ways ; 

Lo I must tell a tale of chivalry ; 

For while I muse, the lance points slantingly 

Athwart the morning air .... 

Ah ! shall I ever tell its cruelty, 

When the fire flashes from a warrior's eye, 

Aad his tremendous hand is grasping it, 

And his dark brow for very wrath is knit '? 

Or when his spirit with more calm intent, 

Leaps to the honours of a tournament, 

And makes the ga7ers round about the ring 

Stare at the grandeur of the balancing." 


' I can repeople with the past — and of 
The present there is still for eye and thought, 
And meditation chasten'd down, enough ; 
And more, it may be, than I hoped or sotight." 


Ancient appearance and topography. — Legendary history. — Etymo- 
logical. — The Hill. — Soil and Produce. — Tournaments and Justs. — 
Wagers of battle" and judicial combats. — Wyatt's Rebellion. — The 
Fairs. — Sanctuary, its evil results. — The Cock-piis. — Bull and Bear 
baiting. — Well's Bear-garden. — Supposed race-course. — " Up Fields." 
— Two worthies, Baldwin and Hebberfield. — " Counsellor Bickerton, 
Esq." — William Collins, the artist. 

"T^O the mind's eye of the Revd. Mr. Ridgway, West- 
minster (together with much of what is now called 
London) presented the appearance more than twelve 
hundred years ago, of a long range of rising ground, covered 
with a vast forest : — - 

" And eek the names that the trees highte — 
As okj'firre, birch, aspe, alder, holm, popeler, 
Wylugh, elm, plane, assh, box, chasteyn, lynde, laurer, 
Mapul, thorn, bech, hasel, ew, whippletre." 


Q 3 

248 TotJdll-fields. 

" filled with wild deer, wild boars, and wild bulls, more like 
the backwoods of Canada, or the bush of Australia, than 
any scenery now existing in Britain."* Between the spots 
now marked by the bridges of Westminster and Vauxhall, 
and further west towards Chelsea, lay a wide wilderness of 
country, stretching northwards in a gentle slope towards 
the hills of Hampstead. Land and water intermingled next 
the river in marsh and morass, which extended over the 
whole of the locality known to-day as Pimlico and Belgravia. 
The region known to us as Bessborough-gardens barely 
emerged from the spreading river, but was given up " for a 
possession for the bittern, and pools of water " where the 
solitary heron, the royal swan, and the morose bustard 
found a congenial haunt, and the ruff and reeve, the wild 
duck and water-rail lived fearless among the reeds and rushes 
of the marshes. On the eastern side, where the Abbey 
stands, appeared Thorney Island (or Thorn Ey, the Isle of 
Thorns), surrounded by fen and thicket, and affording in 
the thorny jungle a refuge for the wild ox and the huge red 
deer with towering antlers, that strayed into it from the 
neighbouring hills.f 

The wild nature of the spot may be inferred from the 
fact of the first Benedictine monks having chosen it as a 
site for their little colony, affording as it did security for 
themselves, and abundance of fish for their refectory. The 
charter of Offa describes it as "in loco terribili, quod dicitur 
set Westmunster," and Fitzstephen speaks of the river as 
" fluvius maximus, //jr(:(?j-//j-," — swarming with fish. 

Behind the marshy swamp which fringed the river along 
Millbank, lay Bulinga Fen, from which, in course of time, 
the water gradually drained away, and left a tract of 
peaty soil, afterwards known as Tothill-fields. The 

* The Gem of Thorney Island. 

t Dean Stanley's Memorials. The bones of such an ox were discovered 
under the foundations of the Victoria Tower, and l)ones and antlers of the elk 
and red-deer in making the metropolitan railway under the Broad Sanctuary. 

Etyiiiologicai - 549 

derivation of this name has given occasion for much 
ingenious speculation among antiquarians, but the con- 
sensus of evidence would attribute it to a hill or beacon 
forming the highest point of the fields.* Mr. Timbs, in 
his Curiosities of London, mentions that the name 
occurs in an ancient lease as Toot-hill or Beacon Field, 
which Mr. Hudson Turner suggested to Mr. Cunningham 
as the probable origin. Norden, the topographer of West- 
minster in the time of Elizabeth, speaks of " Tootehill- 
street, lying on the west part of this citie, taketh name of a 
hill near it, in the great feyld near the street." In Rocque's 
map (1746), a hill is shown in Tothill-fields, just at the 
bend in that ancient causeway, the Horseferry-road. 
Hollar's etching also shows it. Mr. Edwin Lees, in Hone's 
Year Book, states that the Toot-hills, which are found 
scattered all over the country, were consecrated to the 
Celtic 'deity Teiitates, and this druidical worship is con- 
nected by antiquarians with that of Tuisto by the Germans, 
as observed by Tacitus, and even with the Egyptian 
TJioth. Mr. Thoms relates that good Dean Turtonf once 
told the founder of Notes and Queries " how pleased he was 
when made Dean of Westminster, to find himself connected 
with one of our old Toot Hills. It would have gladdened 
the heart of Jacob Grimm to have heard that kindly scholar 
discourse about the ancient Thcutli or TliotJi, to whom the 
invention of letters was formerly ascribed." § 

* As analogy has a value of its own, it may be mentioned that there is a 
jjarish named Tothill in Lincolnshire, in the Marsh division of the hundred of 
Calceworth, which is also considered to take its name from a round hill in the 
parish called Toote-hill. (See Clordon's and Lewis's Topograp. Dictionaries.) 
" The name of 7(7/ is the old British word Teitt (the German Tulsio), god of 
wayfarers and merchants- — the third day of the week is still called after him. 
Sacred stones were set up on heights, hence called Tot-hills. ' To toot ' in the 
north of England was a common phrase to express the ol)servation of a watch- 
man set upon a high station looking over a lower country." — Timb's London 
and lVesti?n'ns(i'7\ 

t Thomas Turton, Dean 1842-5; Bishop of Ely; published Text of the 
English Bible considered, <sfc: died 1864. 

§ 'i^Q Notes and Queries ^Iwxit 16, 1877. 

250 Tothill-fields. 

Another derivation of the word was put forward by the 
late Mr. Bardwcll, who, being aware of the fact that the 
Normans called the district tout k cJianip, fancied that it 
might have been clipped into tout k, and then corrupted 
into toutk and Tot-hill. This latter theory, in view 
of what has been previously said, must be regarded as 
somewhat far-fetched ; but it affords the opportunity of 
leaving the question for matters of less dubiety. 

It is strange to suppose that the Druids held their 
solemn rites and 'mystical ceremony' amidst the solitary 
wilds of Bulinga Fen, while 

" Ever overhead 

Billow'd the tempest, and the rotten branch 
Snapt in the rushing" of the nver-rain 

Above them." 


or that the deity of Tuesday was here worshipped by their 
Saxon invaders and conquerors. When the traditions are 
remembered that King Sebert (a.d. 616) pulled down a 
temple of Apollo on the site of the Abbey to make room 
for St. Augustine's monks ; that King Lucius (a.d. 183) 
Jirst founded a chapel here to St. Peter ; * and that that 
Apostle himself, crossing the river near the site of the old 
horse ferry ,-|- built a chapel or oratory here — it will becon- 
ceded that Tothill-fields are not by any means devoid of 
a traditionary history of their own.J 

* Ridgway, Gcin of Thorucy Island ; Stanley's Afc/iiorials. 

t See chapter XI. 

J A writer in Notes and Queries asks " Whether there exists any well 
authenticated evidence of the discovery of Roman remains in Westminster ? I 
say ' well authenticated,' for I have had in my possession for many years some 
Roman coins said to have heen found towards the beginning of the present 
century in King-street, and I saw not very long since a fragment of Roman 
statuary said to have heen dug up in Marsham-street." N. <sf Q., 4th Series, 
Vol. v., March 5, '70. A Roman sarcophagus was found in Novr., 1869, in 
the Green under the north wall of the Abbey. It can be seen at the entrance 
to the Chapter House, left hand side. It was the tomb, as its inscription 
shows, of a Roman named Valerius Amandinus Marcellus, superveiitor e( 
vidrcelliis patri. 

The hill. 251 

So much for the legends. Of the hill itself there is no 
longer any trace. Walcott thinks that it may have become 
lost in the gradual accumulation of soil upon the adjacent 
ground, and others suppose that the process of making-iip 
the level which is always going on where there is a growing 
population, accounts for its disappearance. Dean Stanley 
states that it was levelled in the seventeenth century. This 
explanation, so far as it goes, is plausible enough, for, as 
will be seen as our sketch proceeds, the locality was resorted 
to for its gravel to so serious an extent that it led to a 
complaint being made to the Dean and Chapter, and to steps 
being taken to prevent it. But the hill certainly existed so 
lately as 1804, for we find that the Vestry of the parish* 
in that year, applied for, and obtained consent of the Dean 
and Chapter " to screen the rubbish on the hill in Tothill 
Fields," to be conveyed to the burial-ground in the 
Horseferry-road for raising the surface. The hill, which 
could not have been more than a mound, might have been 
removed in this way, and may therefore be said never to 
have left the parish. 

The soil of the higher part of Tothill-fields was of a 
gravelly description, admirably adapted for the holding of 
justs and tourneys and judicial combats. Walcott describes 
the sub-soil as consisting " of a clear bright loam, lying 
beneath a rich mould, which extends to about a foot in 
depth, with short fine herbage, which was for centuries 
grazed on by numerous cattle." And there is ample 
evidence to show that the fields responded very kindly to 
the cares of patient husbandry. The Benedictine monks 
did not choose the site of the Abbey without some reason 
in this respect. The names of Orchard-siv&ei, Pear-street, 
and Vine-street, are reminiscent of the cultivation of fruit 
in Westminster. 

At the time of the Norman Conquest new plantations of 
vineyards would appear to have been made in West- 

* Vestry minutes, 28th February, 1804. 

252 Tothill-fichh. 

minster ; * although it must not be forgotten that the vine 
was cultivated in England long prior to the Battle of 
Senlac. Vines are mentioned in the laws of Alfred ; and 
Edward the Confessor, who bestowed so much care on his 
beloved Abbey, may well have anticipated the Norman. 

Often did the Thames overflow the fields ; in the reign 
of Edward I. they were deeply under water. Undoubtedly 
the 'country-side' stretching along from the Abbey precincts 
to the Neat-houses and the Five Fields must have been 
very pleasant. Both Tothill-ficlds and the Five Fields 
had a repute for wild flowers. Watercress was gathered 
by the neighbours in the little streamlets or ' ditches ' that 
traversed them. The herbalists and naturalists of olden 
time here collected their plants and herbs, either growing in 
the open meadows or along the banks of the river and ditches. 
The cuckoo-flower, Shakespeare's " lady's-smock," was once 
abundant by the water's side, and around the ' Duck ' and 
other watery places grew the marsh-mallow, the moisture- 
loving spurge, the crimson-flowered willow herb, and many 
another wild plant — ■ 

" The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose." 


were easily to be found — 

" Young playmates of the rose and daffodil. 

With fennel green and balm . . . 

Savory, latter-mint, and columbines 

Cool parsley, basil sweet and sunny thyme ; " 


and very probably there flourished on the more heathy parts 
the hardy gorse and broom — the planta gcnesta — whose 
golden glory was the badge of the knightly Plantagenets. 
In the time of the old herbalist, Culpeper,-f- these fields 
were famous for parsley. Strype speaks of the fields as 
noted " for supplying London and Westminster with as- 
paragus, artichokes, cauliflowers, and musk melons, and the 

* Timb's Nooks and Corners. 
t Author of Coi/iplcat Herbalist and Fliy steal Directory, 1649, 

Haymaking. ^53 

like useful things that the earth produces." In Howell's 
time, too, (1629) these fields were famous for melons. " I 
have sent you herewith," he writes to Sir Arthur Ingram, " a 
hamper of melons, the best I could find in any of Tothill- 
fields gardens.* 

In the churchwardens' accounts for 165 1 wo. read : " Re- 
ceived of Bartholomew Bonyon for the grasse of the yard 
belonging to the pest-houses from Midsomer, 165 1, to 
Michaelmas following xxs," and other evidence is afforded 
by these accounts that there was much excellent pasture 
in the fields in good seasons. 

Here then, despite the sinister presence of the Pest- 
houses, the hay harvest was gathered in by the villagers, the 
tired mothers resting perchance at times to watch 

" Infant hands 
Trail the long rake, or with the fragrant load 
O'ercharged, amid the kind oppression roll." 


The open Tothill Fields existed as such with a group of 
lonely cottages standing in their midst till 18 10, when the 
note of preparation for a different state of things was heard 
in the construction of an iron bridge at Vauxhall. 

So lately as 1750 the farmers in the neighbourhood suf- 
fered much loss (so Walcott tells us) by the cow distemper 
Wallis, a citizen of London, left ^6,000 for their relief 
Mention has already been made (see p. 8j of the fact 
that Eldrich's nursery, which supplied the district with 
fruit and flowering shrubs, occupied the site of the present 
gas works. Evelyn notes, in his Diary of June 10, 1658, 
" I went to see ye Medical Garden at Westminster, well 
stored with plants, under Morgan, a very skilful botanist." 
Walcott asserts that snipe have been shot in the fields in 
the present century ; a statement apparently corroborated 
b)' Lord Albemarle in his autobiography. Major Griffiths, 

* Ephtolce Ho-Eliaiuv, printed 1645-55. 



The Smithfield of Western London. 255 

too, states that " people were alive only a few years ago 
who had shot snipe in the bogs and quagmires about this 

A writer in TJie Builder says that in 1830 the Vauxhall- 
road was not entirely built upon, and bits of the hedge-row 
were still to be seen. Patches of greensward might as yet 
be observed beneath the litter of old iron which Andrew 
Mann so liberally spread over any plot of waste ground ; 
whilst the site of the present South Belgravia remained 
open market-garden ground, intersected by bridle paths, 
for some ten years subsequently. The present Warwick- 
street, leading from Westminster towards Chelsea, occupies 
the precise site of the " Willow Walk." But all vestige of 
the rural nature of the locality must have disappeared soon 
after this date ; and now, to slightly alter the words of the 
clever authors oi Rejected Addresses — 

TotJiill Fields are fields no more 

The trowel supersedes the plough, 
And swamps all inundate of yore 

Give place to bricks and mortar now. 

J. Wykeham Archer, the painter and antiquary, in his 
Vestiges of Old London (185 1) says that these fields 
were within three centuries part of a marshy tract of land 
lying between Millbank and Westminster Abbey, and on 
which stood a few scattered buildings, some of them the re- 
sidence of noble persons. 

Dean Stanley has called these fields " the ' Smithfield ' of 
Western London — which witnessed the burnings of witches, 
tournaments, judicial combats, fairs, bear-gardens, and the 
interment of those who had been stricken by the plague." 
In one of its streams the ducks disported themselves, which 
gave their name to Duck Lane, now swept away by 
Victoria-street. Another formed part of the boundary be- 
tween the parishes of St. Margaret and St. John, and a 
third, which had become known in 1826 as " the Tothill 

* Memorials of Millban/.; 1884, p. 23. 

:^ 5 6 Tothill-fietds. 

Fields open sewer," marked the limits on the south-western 
side of the area under the jurisdiction of the Tothill Fields 
Trust. A shaggy pool, deep enough to drown a horse, has 
gradually dwindled away into a small puddle and a vast 
sewer, now called the Kings Scholars' Pond and the Kings 
Scholars'' Pond Sewer'' 

Perhaps the earliest mention of the locality occurs in 
Fabyan, who describes it in 1238 as " a fielde by Westmyn- 
ster, lying at ye west end of ye church." " On account," 
says Walcott, " of its dry soil and size, wagers of battle 
were often decided here, and combats specially granted by 
princes, as well as those proceeding by ordinary award in 
law." These characteristics of the ground would naturally 
have made it 

" A favourite spot for Tournament and War." 


and for the holding of those Homeric contests of our fore- 
fathers — 

" When ancient chivalry displayed 
The pomp of her heroic games 
And crested chiefs and tissued dames, 
Assembled at the clarion's call." 


But it must not be forgotten that " the triumphant joust- 
ings and other military exercises," to which old Stow and 
other chroniclers make such frequent allusion, usually took 
place in the royal tilt-yard in Whitehall * ; and it may be 
safely assumed that the outlying field of Tothill was only 
resorted to on occasions of more than ordinary grandeur. 
Hence we read that at the coronation (1220) of Eleanora 
— la Belle of Provence — consort of Henry HI., the extra- 
ordinary magnificence of the rejoicings with which the 
beautiful queen was received, included " royal solemnities 

^* Now the parade yi'ound of the Koyal Horse Cniards. 

^'■Pageants and sigJits of honou]-." 257 

and goodly joustes" kept up for eight days in Tothill- 
fields. * 

" From early the rising of the sonne, 
Till spent the day was and yronne 
In justing, dancing, and lustinesse, 
And all that sownede t to gentilnesse.' 


The Rev. Mr. Ridgway states that on this occasion the 
worthy citizens, " in honest practical zeal, to do honour to 
their new queen, set about, in good earnest, the Herculean 
task of cleansing their streets from the mud and offensive filth 
which rendered them almost impassable." " Truly a strange 
sight must the wild marshy field have been, with the coarse 
turf spread with bright yellow sand ; the stout barriers, the 
galleries hung with silken canopies, awnings intermingled 
with green boughs and fragrant garlands, stooping down 
to shade the groups of fair maidens clustered beneath ; the 
steel-clad challengers seated firm as rocks upon their 
neighing steeds, awaiting the herald's blast and the shock 
in the glittering list ; the wavy plumes, the broidered 
mantle, the token-scarf, the parti-coloured tabard, brilliant 
as a flowery garden." It may well be supposed that during 
so honourable a week, and with such a Queen of I.ove and 
Beauty looking on, the hearts of Henry's young knights 
beat high at those solemn moments when — 

" The heralds left their pricking up and down, 
Now ringen trumpets loud and clarion. 
There is no more to say but east and west. 
In go the speares sadly in the rest, 
In goth the sharp spur into the side, 
There see men who can just and who can ride ; 
There shiver shaftes upon shieldes thick, 
He feeleth through the heart-spone the prick ; 
Up springen speares, twenty feet in height, 
Out go the swordes as the silver bright ; 
The helms they to hewn and to shred : 
Out burst the blood with stern streames red." 


* See Mr. J. H. Jesse's London, 1871, Vol. I., p. 182. 
t = Belonged. 

258 Tothill-fields. 

Bright and gay, too, were these fields forty years later 
in the same reign, on the feast of the Decollation of St. 
John, when Stow tell us — " In the year of Christ, 1256, the 
fortieth of Henry III. John Mansell,* the king's coun- 
cillor and priest, did invite to a stately dinner the kings and 
queens of England and Scotland, Edward, the king's son, 
earls, barons, and knights, the Bishop of London, and 
divers citizens, whereby his guests did grow to such a num- 
ber that his house at Totehill could not receive them, but 
that he was forced to set up tents and pavilions to receive 
his guests, whereof there was such a multitude that seven 
hundred messes of meat did not serve for the first dinner." 

Tothill was the name of the manor in Westminster, pos- 
sessed by this John Mansell. 

Such were the scenes that Tothill Fields witnessed nearly 
seven hundred years ago, when Westminster was adorned 
with the palaces of princes and nobles, and glittered with 
the gorgeous pastimes of knighthood ; when the friar in 
sober cowl walked the uneven pavement, and the knights 
rode with trumpets in gaudy colours to their tournaments 
in Whitehall or Smithfield or Tothill. 

Where throngs of knights and barons bold 
In weeds of peace high triumph hold. 
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes 
Rain influence and judge the prize. 


Tcmpora inutantur, nos et inutamur in illis. The dingy 
streets and courts of modern Westminster have displaced 
these brilliant scenes ; and where now rises " the busy hum 
of men " — ih^fuvinin et opes, strcpituinqiie RonicB — once re- 
sounded the stirring cries of ' Brave lance ! Good sword ! ' 
and the herald's exhortations to ' Fight on, brave knights ! ' 
' Man dies, but glory lives ! Fight on — death is better than 

* "John Mansell, King's councillor and chaplain, monk of the Abbey, 
chancellor of St. Paul's, and prior of Beverley." Walcott. 

" Order the trial, marshal, and begin!^ :>59 

* defeat ! Fight on, brave knights ! — for bright eyes behold 
your deeds ! ' 

" But, now, for ever 

Farewell the plumed troop, and the big wars 
That make ambition virtue ! O farewell ! 
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, 
The spirit-stirring drum, th' ear piercing fife, 
The royal banner and all quality. 
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war ! " 


The proximity of these fields to the king's law courts 
would naturally explain their use for carrying out the judge's 
sentences, and for the settlement of trials by battle or by 
ordeal issuing out of the courts. Walcott informs us that 
necromancers were punished here and their instruments 
destroyed ; as in the reign of Edward III., when a man was 
taken " practising with a dead man's head, and brought to 
the bar at the King's Bench, where, after abjuration of his 
art, his trinkets were taken from him, carried to Tothill, and 
burned before his face." So in the time of Richard I., 
Raulf Wigtofte, chaplain to Geoffery, Archbishop of York, 
" had provided a girdle and ring cunningly intoxicated, 
wherewith he meant to have destroyed Simon (the Dean of 
York) and others ; but his messenger was intercepted, and his 
girdle and ring burned at this place before the people." 

In 1441 "was taken Margarie Gourdemaine, a witch of 
Eye, beside Westminster, whose sorcerie and witchcraft 
Dame Eleanor Cobham had long time used, and by her 
medicines and drinkes inforced the Duke of Gloucester to 
love hir, and after to wed hir ; wherefore, and for cause 
of relapse, the same witch was brent in Smithfield on 
the 27th October." 

This Margery Jourdain is introduced in Shakespeare's 
play of King Henry VI., part ii., sc. iv., where the ambi- 
tious duchess assists amid thunders and lightnings at the 
exorcism of a prophetic spirit — 

Bolingbroke — Mother Jourdaine, be you prostrate and grovel 

on the earth :— 
John Southwell, read you ; and let us to our work." 

26o 7 othill-fields. 

The poor lady had her punishment too : — 

" Ah ! Gloucester, teach me to forget myself ! 
For, whilst I think I am thy married wife, 
And thou a prince, protector of this land, 
Methinks I should not thus be led along, 
Mail'd up in shame, with papers on my back. 
And followed with a rabble, that rejoice 
To see my tears, and hear my deepset groans. 
The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet ; 
And when I start the envious people laugh. 
And bid me be advised how I tread." 

Hume, in his History of England makes an interesting 
view of the criminal law amongst the Saxons, of which trial 
by ordeal was the principal feature.* Trial by battle was 
an introduction of the Normans, some say of William the 
Conqueror himself It was employed when issue was joined 
in a writ of right. The above-named historian, speaking of 
the law reforms of Henry H., states that that monarch 
" though sensible of the great absurdity attending the trial 
by duel or battle, did not venture to abolish it ; he only 
admitted either of the parties to challenge a trial by an 
assize of jury of twelve freeholders. This latter method of 
trial seems to have been very ancient in England and was 
fixed by the laws of King Alfred ; but the barbarous and 
violent genius of the age, had of late given more credit to 
the trial by battle, which had become the general method 
of deciding all important controversies. It was never 
abolished by law in England ; and there is an instance of it 
so late as the reign of Elizabeth." j- The most important 
provision, perhaps, of Magna Charta was that no free man 
should be imprisoned, outlawed, punished, or molested, 
except by the judgment of his equals or by the law of the 
land, i.c.^ by the decision of a jury, by trial by battle, or by 

* History of England. Appendix to Vol. I. 
t /'''?■"'. chap. IX., vol, I, 

" In single combat shalt tJiou buckled 261 

Such barbarous justice, then, was frequently determined 
in Tothill-fields: — 

"Also moreover in the same yere (1440-1) was a fightyng at the Tothil 
between too thefes, a pelour and a defendant, and the pelour hadde 
the feid and victory of the defendant withinne thre strokes."* 

The combat would usually take place at sunrise, on a 
piece of ground sixty feet square, enclosed for the purpose, 
and in the presence of the Court of Common Pleas dressed 
in their scarlet robes. The weapons used were staves, with 
targets ; the bodies of the champions were clad in armour, 
but their heads, arms and legs were bare. The battle 
might be continued till the stars appeared. If that was 
done the party in possession of the land was held entitled 
to retain it ; if not, the court pronounced judgment in 
favour of the candidate whose champion was successful. f 

Stow also gives a description with all his accustomed 
minuteness, of a challenge of this kind which took place 
in the Fields : — 

"The i8th of June in Trinity Tearme (1571) there was a combat 
appointed to have been fought for a certain Manour and demaine 
lands belonging thereunto in the Isle of Harty, adioying to the Isle of 
Sheppey, in Kent : Simeon Low and John Kyme were Plaintifes, and 
had brought a writ of right against T. Paramore, who offered to defend 
his right by Battell, whereupon the Plaintifes aforesaid, accepted to 
answere his Chalenge, offering likewise to defend their right to the said 
Manour and lands, and to prove by Battell that Paramore had no right 
nor no good title to have the same. Hereupon the said Thos. Paramore 
brought before the Judges of the Comon Pleas at Westminster, one 
George Thorne, a bigge, broad, strong set fellow : and the Plaintifes 
brought Hen. Nailor, Master of Defence, and seruant to the right 
honourable the Earle of Leicester, a proper slender man- and not so 
tall as the other. Thorne cast downe a Gauntlet, which Nailor tooke 
up. Upon the Sonday before the battell should be tried, on the next 
morrow, the matter was stayed and the parties agreed, that Paramore 
being in possession, should haue the land, and was bound in 500 pound 
to consider the plaintifes, as upon hearing the Judg'es should award. 
The Q Maiesty was the taker up of the matter, on this wise. It was 
thought good, that for Paramore's assurance, the order should be kept 

* A Chronicle of London, loSg to 14SJ — An m.s. of the 15th century, printed 
under the superintendence of Sir Nicholas Harris Nicholas; 4to, 1827, p. 123. 

t See Comyns, Dig. tit. ' Trial ' ; and Blackstone's Commentaries. 


262 Tot] lill- fields. 

touching the combat, and that the plaintifs Low e and Kyme should 
make default of appearance, but that yet such as were sureties of 
Nailor their champions appearance, should bring him in, and likewise 
those that were sureties for Thorne, should bring in tlie same Thoi-ne 
in discharge of their bond, and that the Court should sit in Tuthill- 
fields, where was prepared one plot of ground one and twenty j'ardis 
square, double railed for the combate, without the West scjuare, a stage 
being set up for the Judges, representing the Court of the Common 
Pleas. All the compasse without the Lists, was set with scaffolds one 
aboue another, for people to stand and behold. There were behind 
the square where the Judges sate, two tents, the one for Nailor, the 
other for Thorne. Thorne was there in the morning timely. Nailor 
about seuen of the clocke came through London, apparelled in a 
doubtlet and gally-gascoigne breeches, all of crimson sattin cut 
and raised, a hat of black veluet, with a red feather and band, 
before him Drums and Fifes playing : the Gauntlet that was 
caste downe by George Thorne, was borne before the said 
Nailor upon a sword's point, and his Baston (a stafte of an 
ell long made taper-wise, tipt with horn) with his shield of hard 
leather, was borne after him, by Askam a yeoman of the Queen's 
gard ; he came into the Pallace of Westminster, and staying not long 
before the Hall doore, came back into the King's streete, and so along 
through the Sanctuary and Tuthill streete, into the field, where he 
stayed till past nine of the clocke, and then Sir Jerome Bowes brought 
him to his tent, Thorne being in the tent with Sir Henry Cheincy long 
before. About ten of the clocke, the Court of Common Pleas remoued 
and came to the place prepared: when the Lord Chief Justice with two 
other his associates were set, when Low was called solemnly to come in, 
else hee to lose his writ of -right. Then after a certaine time the 
sureties of Henry Nailor were called to bring in the said Nailor, 
champion for Simon Low, and shortly thereupon Sir Jerome Bowes 
leading Nailor by the hand, entreth with him the Lists, bi-inging him 
downe that square by which hee entred, being on the left hand of the 
Judges, and so about till hee came to the next square iust against the 
Judges, and there making a curtesie, first with one leg, and then with 
other, passed forth till he came to the middle of the place, and then 
made the like obeysance, and so passing till they came to the barrel 
there hee made the like curtesie, and his shield was held up aloft over 
his head : Nailor put off his neather stockes, and so bare-foote and 
bare-legged, saue his silke scamlonians to the ancles, and his dublet 
sleeues tyed up aboue the elbow, and bare headed, came in as is afore- 
said ; then were the sureties of George Thorne, called to bring in the 
same Thorne, and immediately Sir Henry Cheiney entring at the 
upper end on the right hand of the Judges, used the like order in 
comming about by his side, as Nailor had before on that other side, 
and so comming to the barre with like obeysance, held up his shield, 
proclamation was made in form as followeth : The Justices commenced 
in the Queenes Maiesties name that no person of what estate, degree 

TJie gauntlet surrendered. 263 

or condition he be, being present, to be so hardy to give any token or 
signe, by countenance, speech or language, either to the proouer or to 
defender, whereby the one may take advantage of the other : and no 
person remooue, but still keepe his place : and that euery person and 
persons keepe their staves and their weapons to themselves : and 
suffer neither the said proouer nor defender to take any of their 
weapons or any other thing, that may stand either to the said proouer 
or defender any auail, upon pain of forfeiture of lands, tenements, 
goods, chattels and imprisonment of their bodies, and making fine and 
ransome at the Queene's pleasure. Then was the proouer to be 
sworne in forme as followeth : This heare you Justices, that I have 
this day neither eate, drunke, nor have upon me either bone, stone, 
nor glasse, or any inchantment, sorcerie, or witchcraft, where through 
the power of the Word of God might be inleased or diminished, and 
the deuils power encreased ; and that may appeale is true, so help me 
God and his saints and by this booke. After this solemne order was 
finished, the Lord Chiefe Justice rehearsing the manner of bringnng 
the writ of right by Simon Low of the answere made thereunto by 
Paramore, of the proceeding therein, and how Paramore had chalenged 
to defend his right to the land by battell, by his champion George 
Thorne, and of the accepting the triall that was by Low, with his 
champion Henry Nailor, and then for default in appearance in Low, 
he adiudged the land to Paramore, and dismissed the champions, 
acquitting the sureties of their bonds. He also willed Henry Nailor 
to render againe to George Thorne his gauntlet, whereunto the said 
Nailor answered, that his Lordship might command him anything, but 
willingly he would not render the said gauntlet to Thorne except he 
would win it : and further he challenged the said Thorne to play with 
him halfe a score blowes, to shew some pastime to the Lord Chiefe 
Justice, and the others there assembled : but Thorne answered, that 
he came to fight, and would not play. Then the Lord Chiefe Justice 
commending Nailor for his valiant courage, commanded them both 
quietly, to depart the field." 

All such proceedings as these were abolished by 59 Geo. 
III., cap. 46, as were also appeals in criminal cases by the 
same enactment. 

In connection with the insurrection in 1 554 of Sir Thomas 
Wyatt to prevent the marriage of Queen Mary with Philip 
of Spain, we read in Wriotheslefs Chronicle that, " Wyatt 
with his rebells came 'to the park pale' by St. James, about 
2 of the clocke in the afternoone, and Knevett, one of his 
capteynes, with his rebells went by Towtehill, through 
Westminster, and shott at the Cowrt gates." 

The holding of fairs in Tothill-fields owed its origin to 

H 2 

264 Tothill-fidds. 

King Henry III., whose pious zeal for re-building the 
Abbey church induced him to resort to every artifice for 
raising money. After having heavily mulcted by com- 
pulsory loans the Jews and the wealthy London burghers, 
whom he hated — " those rustical Londoners, who call them- 
selves Barons, on account of their wealth." — he had recourse 
to the establishment, in 1248, of a fair at St. Edward's 
Tide (13th October). It lasted fifteen days, and brought 
abundant funds into the coffers of the Abbey, for all shops 
were closed and all other fairs prohibited during that fort- 
night ; and every article sold at the fair paid a tax to the 
abbot. Sturdy Raphael Holinshead chronicles that in the 
year 1248 "the King caused a faire to be kept at West- 
minster at Saint Edward's tide, to indure for fifteen daies, 
and to the end that the same should be the more haunted 
with all manner of people, he commanded by proclamation, 
that all other faires, as Elic, and such like holden in that 
season, should not be kept, nor that any wares should be 
shewed within the citie of London, either in shop or with- 
out, but that such as would sell, should come for that time 
unto Westminster ; which was doone not without great 
trouble and paines to the citizens, which had not roome 
there, but in booths and tents, to their great disquieting and 
disease, for want of necessarie provision, being turmoiled 
too pitefullie in mire and dirt, through occasion of raine 
that fell in that unseasonable time of the yeare. The bishop 
of Elie complained sore of the wrong done to him by 
suspending his faire at Elie aforesaid." 

Matthew of Westminster, too, evidently did not ap- 
prove of this arbitrary conduct on the part of the king. 
" He did command that proclamation should be made by 
voice of herald through all the City of London, and in other 
parts, that he gave command to celebrate a new fair, to last 
for fifteen days, at the Monastery. All other fairs and all 
merchandise, in-door or out-of-door, under pain of loss and 
confiscation, he straitly forbade, so that the fair of West- 

A fair in foul zvcatJicr. 265 

minster might be more fully furnished with company and 
wares. . . But when they all set forth their merchandise 
to sell and had no houses but only booths, they were 
grievously annoyed with divers mishaps ; for many storms 
of winds broke in upon them, as is wont at that season ; 
and the merchantmen, shivering with cold, were wetted 
through, hungry and athirst." 

Fox Bourne, in his English Merchants, also bears out that 
the weather experienced was of the very worst possible de- 
scription. He says, " during the whole fortnight, however, 
the weather was bad, so that vast quantities of clothing and 
provisions were left to rot in the tents, through which the 
rain penetrated ; while the dealers themselves had to stay 
all day, waiting for customers who never came, with their 
feet in the mud, and the wind and rain beating against their 
faces" ; from all of which it may be inferred that the worthy 
citizens of those days, with their flowing cloaks and long- 
toed boots, found Westminster fair by no means convenient; 
for they were fain to redeem it with two thousand pounds of 
silver * — a result that may have been the impecunious 
king's intent from the outset. 

St. Edward's fair was at first held in St. Margaret's 
churchyard until 34 Henry HI. (i25o),-f- when it was removed 
to Tothill-fields ; and in 1302 the Abbot was permitted 
to levy toll upon all traders who sold their wares at the 
time, even within the precincts of the palace. ^ 

Henry HI. moreover, in 1256, granted his " Pattent to 
the Abbett of Westminster, giving him leave to keepe a 
markett in Tuthill every Munday, and a faire every }ere 
for 3 dayes " at the time of the Festival of St. Mary Mag- 

* Stow. Walcott omits the words " of silver." 

t There is also a Charter of this date exhibited in the Chapter House, grant- 
ing to the Abbey that the fair held on St. Edward's Day should have the same 
privileges as that of St. Giles-in-the-Hill, Winchester. 

± Walcott's Memorials. 

266 Totliill-ficlds. 

dalcn. Edward I., by another Patent* dated iith May, 
1298, extended the fair to thirty-two days to be held 
every )'ear in Tuthill, but it fell into disuse soon after- 
wards.-}- It is said by Timbs that the Mayor and Corpora- 
tion of London, by a bribe of ^8,000, induced the abbot to 
yield up his privilege. \ On the other hand, another writer 
declares the fair was in existence in 18 19, but died away 
gradually, previously to the general suppression of fairs in 
1840, and states that it was held in Rochester-row, near 
where the Church of St. Stephen now stands. Some 
very curious information concerning the Westminster 
fair, was given in an able article in the Westmmster and 
Pimlico Neius, of October 20, 1888, by Mr. W. E. H. Oxley. 

Evidence that the fair was flourishing in the early part 
of the present century is given in Lord Lennox's Reminis- 
cences, wherein he narrates that when he was first at 
Westminster school he attended " the then celebrated 
booths of Scowton, Saunders, Richardson, and Gyngel at 
TothiU-fields fair." 

It will accordingly be conceded that the good people of 

Westminster, from the earliest times, did not lack oppor- 

tunit)' for purchasing their 

" Rings, gauds, conceits. 
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats ; " 

or, as Autolycus sang — 

" Lawn, as white as driven snow ; 
Cyprus, black as e'er was crow ; 
Gloves, as sweet as damask roses ; 
Masks, for faces, and for noses ; 
Bugle bracelet, neklace amber. 
Perfume for a lady's chamber : 
Golden quoifs, and stomachers. 
For my lads to give their dears ; 
Pins, and poking sticks of steel ; 
What maids lack from head to heel." 

Winter's Tale. 

* These two Patents, with the Great Seals attached, miy l)e seen at the 
Town Hall. 

t Old Shozvinen and London Fairs, T. Frost. 
X Timbs' London and Jf'cstn/instcr. 

Within the Hunts of sanctuary. 267 

Perhaps the succession may be traced in the weekly pan- 
demonium in Strutton-ground and the vicinity ; or, better 
still — for fairs were once an institution to which flocked 
high-born dame and servant-maid alike — in the huge 
emporium of the Army and Navy Stores, whose contents 
exceed in multitudinous variety even Autolycus' pack 

Tothill-fields, before the Statute of Restraints (21 
James I., c. 28), was considered to be — so Walcott states — 
within the limits of the Sanctuary of the Abbey, 

Stow tells us that the Abbey " had great privilege of 
Sanctuary within the precinct thereof .... which 
privilege was first granted by Sebert, king of the East 
Saxons, since extended by Edgar, king of the West 
Saxons, renewed and confirmed by King Edward the Con- 
fessor," whose charter offered to any person flying thither 
for any cause " all maner freedom of joyous libertie ; and 
whosoever presumes or doth contrary to this my graunt, I 
will hee lose his name, worship, dignity, and power, and 
that with the great tray tor Judas that betrayed our 
Saviour, he be in the everlasting fire of hell." 

Whether the statement of Mr. Walcott is correct would 
seem to be somewhat doubtful ; but there can be no manner 
of doubt that these " unhappy privileges,"— to use Dean 
Stanley's apt phrase — had their evil effect upon the 
neighbourhood. " The right of asylum rendered the whole 
precinct a vast 'cave of Adullam' for all the distressed and 
discontented of the metropolis who desired, according to 
the phrase of the time, 'to take Westminster.'" This 
privilege of sanctuary, Widmore* observes, "had caused 
the houses within the district to let well" ; and it moreover 
encouraged a colony of thieves and vagabonds, who 
naturally appreciated the advantage of this ' City of Refuge,' 
to grow up around the Abbey. This part of Westminster 
became, in consequence, the resort of all that was low and 

* R. Widmore, History of the Chunk of St. Peter. 

268 Tothill-ficlds. 

disreputable. The Fields in the days of James I. were "the 
abode of bull-baiters, ragamuffins, beggars and thieves,"* 
and their bad reputation did not disappear until very 
recently. The statement published in 1850 by " the Lay 
Bishop of Westminster," Sir William Page Wood (after- 
Lord Hatherley) affords striking evidence that the evil 
associations of the sanctuary rights lingered in Westminster 
long after their suppression by King James. 

The Fieldswerenaturally resorted to by the lower orders for 
their pastimes and amusements, and early in the eighteenth 
century — " England's meanest period," as Lamb has stigma- 
tised it, — was famous for bull-baiting, bear-baiting, cock- 
fighting and cock-throwing, dog-fighting, prize-fighting, and 
such like ' sports ' and diversions so much beloved of our 
gentle forefathers. But we are not surprised at their 
depraved tastes when we remember that the Royal Cock- 
pit stood at the top of Queen-street, Birdcage-walk. The 
steps leading down from opposite Dartmouth-street to the 
park are still known to old residents in Westminster as 
Cockpit Stairs.-|- Evelyn in his Diary of the i6th June, 
1670, writes: — "I went with some friends to y*-' Bear-garden, 
where was cock-fighting, dog-fighting, beare and bull- 
baiting, it being a famous day for all these butcherly sports 
or rather barbarous cruelties. The bulls did exceedingly 
well, but the L-ish wolfe-dog exceeded, which was a tall 
greyhound, a stately creature indeed, who beate a cruell 
mastiff. One of the bulls toss'd a dog full into a lady's 

* The Streets of London, by J .T. Smith ; edited by Charles Mackay, LL.D., 
1861, p. 55. 

t Mr. Harland Oxley in The West London Press of May 22, 1886, cites 
Timbs' London and Westminster and Roinanee of L^ondon, in stating that this 
pit, though only taken down in 1816, had been disused long before, and then 
proceeds to make some very just remarks with regard to that author — " Where 
he got this information from I cannot say, but this we do know that he was one 
of the most laborious and painstaking of recent antiquaries, and verified all his 
information, so that those who follow may not have any very great trouble 
upon this point ; of course his information may have been obtained from A neiv 
Guide to I^ondon." 

Bear-baiting. 269 

lap, as she sate in one of ye boxes, a considerable height 
from the arena. Two poore dogs were kill'd and so all 
ended with the ape on horseback, and I most heartily 
weary of the rude and dirty pastime, which I had not 
seen, I think, in twenty years before." Elsewhere the same 
author writes: — 

17th August., iddy. — There was now a very gallant horse to be 
baited to death with doggs ; but he fought them all, so as the 
fiercest of them could not fasten on him, till they run him 
through with their swords. This wicked and barbarous 
sport deserved to have been punish'd in the cruel contrivers 
to get mony, under pretence that the horse had kill'd a man 
which was false. I would not be persuaded to be a spectator. 

In the reign of Queen Anne (1703) a famous bear-garden 
existed in Tothill-fields upon part of the site of Vincent- 
square, and the newspapers of the period contain some curious 
advertisements of the proprietor's enterprise, of which the 
following is a specimen : — ■ 

" At William WelFs Bear Garden in Tuttle Fields, this present 
Monday, the loth of April [1703], will be ■a. green bull baited, and 
twenty doggs fight for a collar, and that dogg that runs farthest and 
fairest wins the collar; with other diversions of bull-baiting and bear- 
baiting. Beginning at two of the clock." 

Notwithstanding the brutishness of the sport, the spirit 
of " fair-play," which is considered to be so strong a 
characteristic of the English, is exemplified in the couplets of 
Butler on thenext page. "Fair play's a jewel," and even Bruin 
had his " law," for proclamation used to be made at all bull 
and bear baitings by the steward, warning the spectators 
not to come within forty feet of the animal, at their peril. 
That such warning was not without good reason, is aptly 
shovN'n by the following note in the Gentleman s Magazine 
of so late a date as 1806 *: — 

Tuesday, May 27^/1, 1806.— This day at a bear-baiting in Tothill- 
fields, one of the bears, having broke loose, fastened upon a 
person of the name of Shawe, whom he tore very much with 
his paws, and would have destroyed him, but for the assistance 
of the people. 

* Vol. Ix.wi, p. 473. 

270 Tothill-ficlds. 

The customs observed at these brutal exhibitions did 

not escape the notice of Butler, who thus refers to them in 

his Hiidibras: — 

People did repair 
On days of market, or of fair. 
And to crack'd fiddle, and hoarse tabor. 
In merriment did drudge and labour ; 
But now in sport more formidal^le 
Had raked together village rabble : 
'Twas an old way of recreating, 
Which learned butchers call bear-baiting ; 
A bold advent'rous exercise. 
With Ancient heroes in high prize ; 
For authors do affirm it came 
From Isthmian or Nemean game ; 
Others derive it from the bear 
That's fixed in northern hemisphere. 
And round about the pole does make 
A circle, like a bear at stake, 
That at the chain's end wheels about, 
And overturns the rabble rout. 
For, after solemn proclainatio)i^ 
In the bear's name, as is the fashion, 
According to the law of arms. 
To keep men from inglorious harms, 
That none presume to come so near 
As forty feet of stake of bear ; 
If any yet be so fool-hardy, 
T' expose themselves to vain jeopardy. 
If they come wounded off, and lame. 
No honour's got from such a maim, 
Altho' the bear going much, b'ing bound 
In honour to make good his ground. 
When he's engag'd, and take no notice. 
If any press upon him, who 'tis. 
But lets them know, at their own cost. 
That he intends to keep his post. 

A writer in TJic Builder tells us that dowai to so recent 
a period as 1819-20, the barbarous sport of bull and bear 
baiting occasionally took place here. There was also a 
cock-pit in Tufton-street (described in chapter XIII.) which 
was perhaps the last of these abominations in London. 

Sir Richard Steele in the Taller, 1709, says " I have heard 
that there was a race-course here," as well as a building 
Bridewell, and bear-garden." Timbs, in his London and 

'' Bing/iaui's leap." ''Slender Billy." 271 

Westutiiister, briefly says "We hear, too, of Tuttle Fields 

In Tothill-fields ' came off ' many a ' mill ' — not between 
Westminster scholars as some have supposed ; for their 
encounters, Lord i\lbemarle tells us, always took place in 
the ' Fighting Green,' in the cloisters — but between profes- 
sional gentlemen of the " P. R.," and sometimes between 
the Westminster boys and " the Scies." 

When Lord Albemarle boarded at " Mother Grant's," the 
Westminsters, as they do now, went " up Fields " to play 
cricket ; but then " Fields " were only separated from the 
rest of the open by a dry ditch. There was, he also relates, 
in the north-west corner, opposite the rear of the present 
police-court, the Duck, afterwards known as the King's 

Richard Bingham, who was at the head of those elected to 
Oxford in 1786, and afterwards served under Sir J. Pulteney 
and Sir Ralph Abercromby, was celebrated at school for a 
great jump he made over a ditch in Tothill-fields, afterwards 
called 'Bingham's leap.' At Easter and Whitsuntide, 
Gooseberry fair was held " up Fields." 

Two Westminster worthies who had much to do with the 
'genius of the place,' albeit their repute was not by any means 
above reproach, were Caleb Baldwin and William Hebber- 
field, or " Slender Billy," both of the " Five Houses " in 
Tothill-fields. So interesting is the history of the latter, 
that the following extracts, although long, will be pardoned 
by appreciative Westmonasterians. The first is from Lord 
Albemarle's Fifty Years of my Life* which so delighted 
Mr. W. J. Thoms, the antiquarian. \ George Keppel, 
afterwards Earl of Albemarle, who was a school-boy at 
Westminster School in the years 1810-5, recalls amongst 
his reminiscences : — 

" Between Mother Hubbard's and the Willow Walk was a nest of 
low buildings known by the name of the ' Seven Chimneys.' The 

* Fifty Years of my Life, by George Thomas, Earl of Albemarle, 1876, 
Vol. I., p. 323. 

t See Notes and Queries, June 16, 1877. 






Betrayed. 273 

inhabitants were of a somewhat questionable character, and certainly 
not of that class with whom ladies would wish their darling boys to 
associate. Here lived Caleb Baldwin, the bull-baiter ; a man who 
enjoyed a widespread fame for one particular feat. Whenever his 
dog was tossed by a bull, Caleb would break its fall by rushing in and 
catching it in his arms. . . . Bull-baiting was an 'institution' in the 
early part of this century. Like prize-fighting, it had its advocates 
among members of both Houses of Parliament. . . . Of all the 
indwellers of the ' Seven Chimneys ' the prime favourite of us West- 
minsters was one William Heberfield, better known by the name of 
'Slender Billy' ; a good-humoured, amusing fellow, but whose moral 
character, as the sequel will show, would not bear a searching investi- 
gation. All we knew of him was that whenever we wanted a dog to 
hunt a duck, draw a badger, or pin a bull, Billy was sure to find us one, 
no matter how minute we might be in the description of the animal 

In the year 181 1 Heberfield was no longer an inmate of the ' Seven 
Chimneys.' He was undergoing his sentence in Newgate for having 
aided the escape of a French General, a prisoner of war on parole. 

It was just at this time that the Bank of England, having suffered 
heavy losses from forgeries, resolved to make an example. William 
Heberfield was fixed upon by them for that example. 

The solicitors of the Bank accordingly took into their pay a 
confederate of Heberfield's of the name of Barry, who was under- 
going two years' imprisonment in Clerkenwell House of Correction, 
for uttering base coin. Through this man's agency, Heberfield, who 
would turn his hand to anything, was easily inveigled into passing 
forged notes provided by the solicitors of the Bank themselves. On 
the evidence of Barry, Heberfield was found guilty and sentenced to 
death. Great exertions were made in the House of Lords to avert the 
execution of the sentence on account of the cruel conspiracy, of which 
the unhappy man had been the victim. All was of no avail. Heber- 
field was hanged at Newgate for forgery on the 12th of January, 1812.'' 

The second extract, which is equally piquant, is abridged 
from TJie News, of February 2, 181 2. — 

On Wednesday morning Edward Phillips for setting fire 
to his house in Ratcliffe-highway ; W. Habberfield, alias 
Slender Billy, for selling Bank notes in Newgate, while in 
confinement for aiding French prisoners in their escape ; 
P. Whitehead, for forgery on the banking-house of Robarts, 
Curtis, and Co. ; and /. Eraser, E. Hall, alias Campbell 
and W. Higgins, alias Eowler, for burglaries : — were executed 
pursuant to their sentences. The unhappy men seemed 
prepared to meet their fate with decent fortitude. Each 
shook hands with the other next to him ; and they were soon 
after launched out of this world. The cro\yd which assembled 
to witness this warning spectacle was immense. 

274 Tofliill-ficlds. 

Of these culprits, none had excited so much public conversation 
as Hnbbcrsfield, alias Slender Billy. He had been known on 
the town for many years by half the population, particularly 
in Westminster. From the figure he made in the gymnastic 
circles, and, also, as having been a manager of badger-baitings, 
dog fights, &c., Billy's cabin (a), in the centre of the Willow- 
walk, Tothill-fields, was a menagerie for beasts of almost 
every description, and also a convenient fencing' repository, 
from the Lady's tyke(b) to the Nobleman's wedge (c). Habber- 
field, from the figure he cut in his managerial character, with 
the buffer id), or badger-ring, was much countenanced by many 
gentlemen in \h& fancy (<?), and particularly by the Westminster 
Collegians, who could have a fund of amusement, at all times, 
in the Willow-walk. But Billy's connection amongst robbers 
of every description, exceeded by far the patronage bestowed 
on him by the higher orders in the bull ring. He always 
bore the reputation of a man of strict probity in his nefarious 
dealings, and was considered the safest fctice about 
town, as his dwelling was suitable to concealment, and 
garrisoned by buffers., so as to render it impregnable to a 
sudden attack. Billy was himself a workman too, and 
accounted as good a cracksman (/) or peler-ma.n (g) as any 
in the ring, and as close as mid-night. He dealt largely in 
dogs and horses, and several anecdotes are related of his often 
bargaining for the purchase of each, and, on refusal, informing 
the owners that he must hai'c them for nothing, if he could 
not buy them, and which promise he repeatedly carried into 
execution. He was a knacker {h) too, and it was a favourite 
expression of his, that he had stolen many a worn-out horse, 
rather out of charity to its carcase than the value of his flesh. 
He had been known for forty years to the Police, as a cross (i) 
cove, technically termed, but had always escaped until his 
release of General Austin, and other French prisoners, when 
he was impeached by his pal, and sentenced to two years' 
imprisonment in Newgate, where he sold forged notes to a 
plant (k), and which led to his untimely end. He was, as 
before observed, accounted a man of strict punctuality- and 
integrity, in his honest dealings, and had saved, it is supposed, 
some thousand pounds by his nefarious practices. 

(a) Place where stolen goods are {g) Cutting away of luggage from 

concealed. vehicles. 

(6) Lap-dog. (li) A purchaser of worn-out horses. 

(i) Plate. (/) A person who lives by unfair 

(d) A bull-dog. . practices. 

(c) Admirers of bull-bniting, fight- (/■) A person sent for the purpose of 

ing, &c. detecting him. 
(/") House-breaker, 

Young sportsmen. 275 

It is pretty generally suspected amongst his confidential friends, 
that he was the fence^ after the ingenious removal., two or 
three years ago, of the plate from the Cathedral of St. Paul's. 
He was likewise suspected of being an extc?isivc s^m-spinner (;?), 
without the knowledge of the Board of Excise. It was Billy's 
boast, that he had not for many years worn a single article of 
dress that had not been stolen. He had left a widow and two 
daughters, one of whom is married. 

In his delightful Recreations of a Sportsman., Lord 
William Lennox, another old Westminster boy, observes: — 

It is a fact, and a most melancholy one, that all sports are more or 
less cruel, and many perhaps quite as objectionable in that respect as 
cock-fighting. Yet the practice of putting on artificial spurs, and the 
knowledge that the conquerors seldom are allowed to live to enjoy 
their triumph, make this once popular pastime repugnant to the 
humane feelings of a large mass of the people. Bull-baiting too, 
which in our " salad days," when, as the Queen of Egypt says, " we 
were green in judgment," we well recollect being carried on in Tothill 
Fields, and at many a suburban and country fair, has fallen into disuse, 
and the Society for the Suppression of Cruelty to Animals would soon 
pounce down upon any costermonger who was daring enough to in- 
dulge in this bovine barbarity. Another equally inhuman sport, that 
of bear-baiting, has long ceased to be indulg'ed in ; and the " Pit" in 
Westminster famous, or rather infamous, in bygone days, when " Slen- 
der Billy " reigned supreme in Duck-lane, has ceased to exist ; and 
splendid mansions, capacious hotels, extensive warehouses, handsome 
streets, now occupy the site of the lowest, dirtiest, and most filthy 
alleys, courts, and lanes ; while powered footmen, smart waiters, 
dapper shop boys, and aristocratic dames tenant the district formerly 
the resort of dog-fighters, pigeon-fanciers, housebreakers, pickpockets, 
coiners, horse-chaunters, and the lowest and most degraded of the 
prize-fig^hting community. 

The author of Westminster School, Past and Present,rQ^ers, 
to the same writer's description of his first shooting expe- 
dition over Tothill-fields: — 

Richard Hubbert, game-keeper and purveyor of guns and ammuni- 
tion to the boys, appears to have been a character compounded of the 
poacher, receiver of stolen goods, and forger. He gave, on this 
occasion, two guns to the two lads, Erskine* and Lennox. These guns 
bore the respective names of " Tearback " and " Scratcher," titles 
certainly calculated, and no doubt intended, to animate the sportsmen 
with confident hopes, but dreadful enough to make both ducks and 
snipe forswear for ever the neighbourhood of .Richard Hubbert's 
dwelling ; as, indeed, they seem to have done about this time, and to 
have returned no more. Though assured by Hubbert that it was just 

{n) Distiller. * Afterwards Earl of Mar, 

276 Tothill-fields, 

the morning for snipe, the boys returned without having olDtained a 
single shot ; but the day could not end so. Therefore they contracted 
for five shots a-piece at elevenpence a shot, the mark to be the ducks 
on the duck-pond. The killed were to be the property of the shooter. 
Lennox was successful enough to kill three ducks, and what was better, 
to make such a favourable impression on his sporting master, as 
materially to affect his subsecjuent comfort as a fag. William Hubber- 
field was another hero inhabiting the Willow Walk. . . . The 
man was hanged for having forged notes in his possession, and Mrs. 
Hubberfield, in a few weeks, married the Bow-street Runner who 
captured him. 

The Gentleman s Magazine of the 7th October, 1833, 
records the death, " in a wretched hovel, at a place called 
the Five Chimneys, near the Vauxhall-bridge-road, aged 
58, Mr. John Bickerton, an eccentric character, formerly- 
well known in the University of Oxford." The magazine 
gives a diffusive account of the eccentricities of this poor 
fellow, who usually called himself " Counsellor Bickerton, 
Esq." The son of a Flintshire farmer, he entered St. 
Edmund Hall at Oxford as a commoner in July, 1793, and 
continued there for several terms, but never took a degree. 
Being refused the papers necessary for his entering into 
holy orders, he left the University and wandered about the 
country. He never walked in the streets without an 
umbrella, and always attended at the Oxford Assizes 
wearing a counsellor's wig. 

" At one time he purchased a chariot at an auction, 
removed the pole, and contrived to make it a one-horse 
carriage. He purchased a horse also, and engaged in his 
service a youth well-known in Oxford, who was sent over 
the seas a few years since. Bickerton fitted up his carriage 
with cooking apparatus, and when the judges left Oxford 
he, dressed in his wig and gown, and accompanied by his 
man, followed them on the circuit. But his travelling the 
circuit was soon terminated, for the first time that he 
appeared in a court where he was unknown (it is believed at 
Gloucester), he was taken into custody, and afterwards sent 
from the place. During his journey he regularly cooked 


A Peter Simple. 277 

his victuals on the road side, and slept in his carriage." It 
is also said of him that during a cold winter, Bickerton 
being in want of fuel, contrived to procure it by climbing 
into a tree that was in the quadrangle of Hertford College, 
and having seated himself upon one of the branches, actually 
sawed the branch off between himself and the trunk, in 
consequence of which he fell to the ground and was much 
hurt. When ejected from Hertford, he purchased a small 
boat, and for some time lived upon the Isis. 

At the inquest on his body, one of the witnesses gave 
the following account of his London life : — 

" Daniel Friend, of Green Hart-yard, Hatton-garden, said that he 
knew the deceased. He was complete master of five or six languages' 
and perfectly conversant with the Hebrew. He formerly kept a school 
in Wych-street, Strand. He bought the Five Chimneys property 
about six years ago, for which he paid 380/. He had also one or two 
houses in Edward-street. A Mr. Dance, a broker, lived in one of 
them. Some time ago the deceased seized upon Mr. Dance for rent, 
who replevied, and threw the deceased into Whitecross-sti^eet prison. 
Witness saw the deceased last Friday. He was then knocking up 
some old tin saucepans, and picking the wire out to sell for old iron. 
He went out with the wire, and brought home a salt herring and a 
pound of potatoes. He also bought a bottle containing some vitriol 
and water, which he took for his complaint. He always complained 
of being ill-used by Mr. Dance." 

On that part of this testimony which relates to 
Bickerton's imputed skill in languages, the Oxford Herald 
remarked that : — 

"Although once a member of this University, he had very little 
knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages, was totally ignorant of 
Hebrew, and knew no modern language whatever except his own." 

The hovel in which Bickerton died was an unfinished 
building. It comprised three rooms, but had no windows 
nor doors, and the lower room was still unfloored and scat- 
tered with broken bricks and mortar. Besides a chair which 
had been lent by a neighbour towards his last moments, 
there was no furniture. " The only articles found in the 
place" says a London paper, which was ignorant of his 
history, " were a barrister's old gown and wig. So he had 


278 Totliill-fields. 

parted with every other comfort ; but emblems of that 
honourable rank, of which he imagined himself the posses- 
sor, he would not relinquish, except with life itself He was 
generally known as the old miser." 

The jury accordingly returned as their verdict, that he 
" died from the want of the common necessaries of life." 

It is difficult to believe that among forty others the 
famous Letters of Junius were actually attributed to this 
eccentric individual.* The Oxford Spy, 1818 (p. 24) states 
that Bickerton kept a horse at Hertford College, which was 
sometimes seen looking out of a window on the second 
floor. Here we bid adieu to "Councillor Bickerton, Esq." 

The Gentlemen's Maga::ine of the 31st October, 1796, has 
the following note : — 

" In Tothill-fields — Clarke, a notorious character. A few hours 
previous to his exit, he acknowledged having been guilty of four 
different murders ; and that he was concerned in the murder of Mrs. 
Sawyer, the barge-builder's wife, at Lambeth, for the discovery of 
which a considerable reward was offered by Government." 

But enough, perhaps, of " shady characters." Let us end 
the chapter by a notice of a Westminster worthy of quite 
another stamp. 

On the 31st May, 1793, William Collins, " whose w^orks 
as an artist have long been known and admired in this 
country ,"-f- died at his house in Tothill-fields. This local 
artist, of whom Timbs speaks as a famous modeller in 
clay and wax, and carver in wood, was the inseparable 
friend of Gainsborough, and these two artists must have 
been at home amid the Tothill-fields' sports.J Mr. 
J. T. Smith, the learned biographer of Nollekens and his 
Times, writes of him : — 

" Gainsborough's friend, Collins, of Tothill-fields, was indeed the 
most famous modeller of chimney tablets of his day, but his figures 

* See Cushing's Dictionary of Initials and Pseudonyjus, and also Notes and 
Queries, ist series, xi., p. 370. 

'\ Gentleman^ s Magazine, Vol. XLIII., p. 576. 
% London and Westminster, Vol. I., p. 148. 

William Collins, the modeller. 279 

were mostly clothed, and exhibited pastoral scenes, which were under- 
stood by the most common observer ; such, for instance, as a 
shepherd's boy eating his dinner under an old stump of a tree, with 
his dog begging before him ; shepherds and shepherdesses seated 
upon a bank, surrounded by their flocks, &c." 

The same entertaining author in another work — A Book 
for a Rainy Day — remarks further that many of ColHns' 
subjects were taken from yEsofs Fables for tablets of chim- 
ney-pieces then in vogue (about 1790), and adds that they 
were here and there to be met with in houses that had been 
suffered to remain in their original state. " I recollect one, 
that of the ' Bear and Bee-hives ' in the back drawing-room 
of the house formerly the mansion of the Duke of Ancaster 
on the western side of Lincoln's Inn Fields." 

S 3 

28o Tothill-fidds. 

Chapter X. 

TOTHILL FIELDS (continued). 

" Dieu de Batailles ! where have they this mettle? 
Is not their climate foggy, raw, and dull ? 
On whom, as in despite, the sun looks pale, 
Killing their fruits with frowns?" 

King Henry V. 

" Here Tothill Fields for ever radiant smile ; 
Graced are the streets by many a lordly pile ; 
Here silver Thames rolls on his lucid tide. 
On his calm breast boats up or downward glide."* 

" Nature held counsel with herself and said, ' My Romans are gone. To build my new 
empire, I will choose a rude race, all masculine, with brutish strength , I will not grudge 
a competition of the roughest males. Let buffalo gore buffalo, and the pasture to the 
strongest ! ' " — Emerson. 

Our City's Campus Martins. — ' Merrie Westminster.' — The Toxophi- 
lite Art. — The Butts of a loyal and patriotic parish. — Latimer on 
' Exercise.' — Royal shots. — King James' " Book of Sports." — Locke. 
— The Parish Armoury. — The Armed Association. — The Extending 
Use of Gunpowder. — The Trained Bands. — The Great Rebellion. — 
The fort and rampart. — The Scotch prisoners. — The Plague and the 
pest-houses. — The " Five Houses " or " Seven Chimneys." — The 
Maze. — Rural Charms. — A play-ground of boys who were to be 
famous. — A strange adventure. — Disputed claims to the Fields. — 
Enclosure of Vincent-square. — The Duck. — Sport. — George IV. in 
Tothill Fields.— Tothill Fields Trust. 

A S Rome possessed its Campus Martius without the city 
walls, where the Roman youths performed their exer- 
cises and learned to wrestle and box, to throw the discus, 
hurl the javelin, and drive a chariot, so the youth of West- 
minster could boast for centuries of their Tothill-fields. 
The fields were not only used on great occasions by the 
nobles of the neighbouring Court for their justs and tourna- 
ments, but they were resorted to as an exercise ground or 

* Latin Epilogue by Jas. Mure, Esq., spoken at the Westminster Play in 
i860; translated by Mr. F. H. Forshall. 

^^ Nolu let me see your archery!'' 281 

playing field throughout the year by the yeoman class. 
Here, then, were held competitions in wrestling, running at 
the quintain, quarter-staff, and other games of skill practised 
by our ancestors, amongst which by far the most important 
was shooting with the long-bow or cross-bow. In point of 
fact the practice of archery or 'shooting' as it was called, was 
made compulsory upon every Englishman from very early 
times. Edward II., Edward III., Richard II. and Edward 
IV. all issued strict ordinances for the observance of the 
art. The last-named monarch in the fifth year of his reign 
commanded every man in England to have a long-bow of 
his own height, and ordered butts to be set up in every 
township, at which the inhabitants were to shoot ' up and 
down ' upon all feast days, under the penalty of one half- 
penny — not an inconsiderable sum in those days — for every 
time they omitted to perform their exercise. 

In the fourteenth century London was " merry London," 
the metropolis of " merry England." The word, as Leigh 
Hunt has pointed out, did not imply exclusively what it 
does now — it meant the best condition in which anything 
could be found, with cheerfulness for the result. Gallant 
soldiers were " merry men." Favourable weather was 
" merry." And the pleasant village of Westminster, the 
favourite place of residence of the Plantagenet kings and 
princes, was " merry." Under the very eyes of the cour- 
tiers and nobility of that splendid dynasty, the youth of 
Westminster were not behindhand in their military exer- 
cises, when, as Macaulay says, " every yeoman from Kent 
to Northumberland valued himself as one of a race born 
for victory and dominion, and looked down with scorn on 
the nation before which his ancestors had trembled." Why 
should they not be " merry," living in the very atmosphere 
of so stately and puissant a court, when England's great- 
ness was awakening, and France was trembling ? 

" They had sports infinite up to the time of the Common- 
wealth — races, and wrestlings, archery, quoits, tennis, foot- 

282 Tot] lill -fields. 

ball, hurling, &c. Their May-day was worthy of the burst 
of the season ; not a man was left behind out of the fields 
if he could help it ; their apprentices piqued themselves on 
their stout arms, and not on their milliners' faces ; their 
nobility shook off the gout in. tilts and tournaments ; their 
Christmas closed the year with a joviality which brought 
the very trees indoors to crown their cups with, and which 
promised admirably for the year that was to come. In 
everything they did there was a reference to Nature and 
her works, as if nothing should make them forget her ; and 
a gallant recognition of the duties of health and strength 
as the foundation of their very right to be fathers."* 

In Strutt's Sports ard Pastimes we read that in the reign 
of Henry VIII., three several Acts were passed for pro- 
moting the practice of shooting with the long-bow ; one 
prohibited the use of cross-bows and hand-guns ; another 
was occasioned by a complaint from the bowyers, fletchers, 
stringers, and arrow-head makers, stating that many 
unlawful games were practised in the open fields to the 
detriment of the public morals and to the great decay of 
archery ; and the third obliged every man, being the King's 
subject, to exercise himself in shooting with the long-bow, 
and also to keep a bow with arrows continually in his 
house. Latimer, in one of his sermons preached before 
King Edward VI., published in 1549, enforced the 
practice of archery from the pulpit. " Men of England in 
times past," he says, •' when they would exercise themselves 
(for we must needs have some recreation, our bodies cannot 
endure without some exercise), they were wont to go 
abroad in the fields of shooting .... The art of 
shooting hath been in times past much esteemed in this 
realm ; it is a gift of God that He hath given us to excel 
all other nations withal ; it hath been God's instrument 
whereby He hath given us many victories against our 
enemies. A wondrous thing, that so excellent a gift of 

* The Town, by Leigh Hunt, Vol. I. 

" Drazv archers, draw your arrozus / " 283 

God should be so little esteemed ! I desire, my lords, even 
as ye love the honour and glory of God, and intend to 
remove His indignation, let there be sent forth some 
proclamation, some sharp proclamation to the Justices of 
peace ; for they do not their duty. Justices now be no 
Justices ; there be many good acts made for this matter 
already. In my time my poor father was as diligent to 
teach me to shoot, as to learn me any other thing, and so I 
think other men did their children. He taught me how ,Jo 
draw, how to lay my body in my bow, and not to draw 
with strength of arms as other nations do, but with strength 
of the body. I had my bows bought me according to my 
age and strength ; as I increased in them, so my bows 
were made bigger and bigger : for men shall never shoot 
well except they be brought up in it. It is a godly art, a' 
wholesome kind of exercise, and much commended in. 

Holinshed records that Henry VIII. shot as well as any 
of his guards ; Edward VI. was fond of the exercise ; and 
there seems every reason to believe that it w^as practised by 
King Charles the First, for that monarch issued a proclama- 
tion in the eighth year of his reign, to prevent the fields 
near London " being so enclosed as to interrupt the neces- 
sary and profitable exercise of shooting."* 

A writer in Notes and Queries of Aug. 6, 1 892, assures us 
that there is abundant proof that the cloth-yard shaft of 
the chronicles and the ballad was no myth. The Italian 
traveller, Paulus Jovius,t was an eye-witness of our archery 
in the middle of the sixteenth century. He says that the 
English shot arrows " somewhat thicker than a man's little 
finger, two cubits {j^^ inches) long, and headed with barbed 

* See Ascham's Toxophilns, 1545; Markham's Art of Arche7y, 1634; 
Wood's Boivtnaiis Glory, 1682; Ay me for Finsbttry Archers, 1628; Ay me 
for the Archers of St. George's Fields, 1664. 

t Paolo Giovio, 1483 — 155^ ; historian, physician, prior, bishop of Nocera, 
wrote Elo^ia Virorum Illiistruim. 

284 TotJiill-fidds. 

steel points, from wooden bows of extraordinary size and 

The grave John I.ocke, in one of his private journals 
(1679), records "bowling at Marcbone and Putney by per- 
sons of quality ; wrestling in Lincoln's Inn Fields on sum- 
mer evenings ; bear and bull baiting at the Bear Garden ; 
shooting in the long-bow and stob-ball in Tothill Fields." 

Mr. Mackenzie Walcott, writing in Notes and Queries of 
17th January, 1857, tells us that "colleges and parish 
churches possessed their armouries," and the Westminster 
parishes were emphatically no exception to the patriotic 
custom. " Upon the spot now occupied by Artillery-place, 
the men of Westminster used to practise at ' the Butts ' 
which were provided by the parish in obedience to an 
ordinance of Queen Elizabeth."* These butts are stated 
to have been removed about the time of the battle of 
Waterloo, or just before that date. \ 

In 1548 the vestry of St. Margaret's paid a Mr. Lentall: — 

For making clean 1 1 pair of harness, 9 daggers, and 

8 bills, price every harness is. 4d. ... ... ... 14s. 

In 1 562 the Church possessed " a streamer of white sarce- 
net with a white cross, 10 pair of almayne rivelets, i harness 
for a horseman, 6 black bills, 16 arming swords, 7 sheaves 
of arrows, and 6 daggers." :j: 

In the Churchwardens' accounts such entries as the 
following are met with : — 

1555. Payde to Lowe, fletcher, for fetheryng of 
iiij. shefFe of arrowse and new trymmyng of 
the heddes ... ... ... ... ... \\\]s. 

1557. Payde for settyng owt of soldyers the vij. 

day of January ... ... ... ... ... iii^ viij^'. v\\d. 

and in the last year of Queen Mary, St. Margaret's sent 

out five soldiers to Portsmouth at a cost of 33s. 4d. 

The subjoined extracts from the old minute-books of the 

St. Margaret's Vestry will sufficiently instance the affection 

* Walcott's Memorials, p. 324. 

tMr. W. E. H. Oxley in the West London Press, July 17, 1886. 

+ Notes and Queries, 17 January, 1857. 


1 1 i 

■1!^ I 













The shooting-Jioiise. 285 

in which the practice of archery was held by the "parochial 
fathers " as a means of defence against invasion : — 

ly^N'ov. 1674. Upon the application of Mr Edward Ffalconberg 
and Mr Edmund Woodruffe, in behalfe of the Archers, 
Clameing a Right in the Shooteing house in Tuttle ffields It 
is thought fitt that (for the future) the Churchwardens for the 
time being doe ahvaies at the Letting of the said house 
Reserve Hberty for the Archers to make use of the Chamber 

8 May 1667. That it be Referred unto the Churchwardens to 
take care that the Shooteing house in Tuttle ffeilds being 
parte of the estate of Mr John Ahen late deceased be 
disposed off to the best Advantayge as being a Legacy by him 
left to this Parish. 

6 July 1667. That the present Churchwardens Doe Contract for 
and by in the Lease of the House in Tuttle ffeilds (called the 
Shooting House) for the use of this parish at the most Easie 
Rates they can p'cure it for And what they doe pay for the 
same shall be allowed them at the passing of their Ace' 

20 May 1668. That the Churchwardens Doe Allow unto the 
present tenant in the House commonly called the Shooting 
House in Tuttle Feilds the Sume of 40^ out of his Rent 
Towards the makeing of a Payre of New Butts and Keeping 
them in Repayre which sd 40^ shall be allowed at the passe- 
ing of the Churchwardens Ace' 

But the honoured long-bow, which did such service in 
English yeomen's hands at Crecy and Agincourt and 
Poictiers, was rapidly superseded in the sixteenth century 
for military purposes, by the general introduction of 
" villainous saltpetre " ; and — 

Those days are gone away, 
And their hours are old and grey 

No, the bugle sounds no more, 
And the twanging bow no more ; 
Silent is the ivory shrill 
Past the heath and up the hill. 

So it is : yet let us sing. 
Honour to the old bow-string ; 
Honour to the bugle horn ! 
Honour to the woods unshorn ! 
Honour to the Lincoln green ! 
Honour to the archer keen ! 


286 Tot hill-fields. 

That Westminster kept well abreast of the times is 
illustrated by the following further extracts from the parish 
accounts : — 

1 5 17. To Mr. Fisher, for making the Butts at Tothill o 27 o 
1548. Paid to II men for wearing the same harness at 

the muster-day, to every man 6d. ... ... ... o 5 6 

1 581. For scouring the armour and the shot against 

the musters in Tothill Fields... ... ... ... o 26 o 

Paid for powder for the soldiers upon the mustering days o 12 4 

Paid for brown paper for them ... ... ... ... o o o 

Paid to the soldiers, the ancient-bearer, and him that 

played on the drum ... o 27 4 

On the 31st October, 1667, the Vestry of St. Margaret's 
ordered — 

That all the Arms, both Offensive and Defensive And also all the 
Watch Mafs now remaining in the Dark Vestry be for the better 
Preservation thereof Removed thence unto the House Newly Erected 
in the Artillery Ground in Tuttle ffields. 

When the clouds of the Civil Wars were gathering in 
threatening sombreness, the fields were a favourite drill- 
ground of the " trained bands," — a body of men " drawn 
forth in arms " in support of the King. Their loyalty soon 
began to waver, however, and eventually they transferred 
their strength to the support of the Parliament. Clarendon 
records that these " trained bands " were at first too lightly 
esteemed, because of their inexperience in any kind of 
service or danger, " beyond the easy practice of their 
postures in the Artillery Garden" ; but the earliest reverses 
of the King showed their mettle, as did the soldiery of the 
"Ironsides" later on, under Cromwell's captaincy. The 
number of men who mustered in the fields at this time was 
so formidable that the above-named writer declares that 
" London and Westminster were an inexhaustible magazine 
of men " for the Parliamentarians, from which the record 
that 14,000 men paraded at one time in the fields derives 
some confirmation. 

Tlic battery. ' 287 

Sir Richard Steele, ridiculing the trained bands in 
The Tatlcr (No. 28), writes :— 

" Our own antient and well-governed cities are conspicuous examples 
to all mankind in their regulation of military achievements. The chief 
citizens, like the noble Italians, hire mercenaries to carry arms in their 
State ; and you shall have a fellow of a desperate fortune, for the gain 
of one half-crown, go through all the dangers of Tothill Fields or the 
Artillery Ground, clap his right jaw within two inches of the touch-hole 
of a musket, and fire it off with a huzza with as little concern as he 
tears a pullet.'' 

At the outbreak in 1642 of the Great Rebellion — which 
the inhabitants of London and Westminster did so much 
to precipitate — the rural quietness of Tothill-fields was 
once more disturbed. In obedience to the order of the 
Parliament of the 7th March of that momentous year, 
(1642-3) a battery with an earthen breast-work or rampart 
was erected here, near the Neat-houses, to form part of the 
fortifications which were hurriedly thrown up round the 
two cities by the " unruly people of the suburbs " — to use 
King Charles's own words * — under the zealous supervision 
of Lord Mayor Penington, " a busy stickler of the 
Faction." \ 

Mr. W. J. Loftie's History of London contains an inter- 
esting plan showing the line of these defence works. The 
battery in Tothill-fields is marked as about midway be- 
tween the Chelsea-road % and the river-bank opposite 
Vauxhall. The sites of the other forts in the west were at 
positions now corresponding with Victoria-station, Consti- 
tution-hill, Hyde-park-corner, and across the river at Vaux- 
hall. They were destroyed, Walcott states, in 1647, when 
the citizens refused to advance a loan of ^50,000 demanded 
by the Parliament to pay the army. 

* Whitelocke's Mc/norials of the English Affairs. 

t Heath's Chronicle. 

% Buckingham-palace-road, and the road thi-ough the squares. 

288 ' Tothill-fields. 

" London," says Maitland, " was the very soul of the 
cause." The ordinances of the ParHament were obeyed 
like Acts, and " even mere children became Volunteers, for- 
sook their parents, and followed the camp."* After the 
indecisive battle of Edgehill, the trained bands forced the 
King to abandon his threatened attack on London. Shops 
were shut and apprentices enrolled, proclamation being 
made that when their services were no longer required, the 
masters should reinstate them in their former places. 

Battery in 'lot hill Fields, 164^. 

The zeal of the people of Westminster for " the Cause" 
is, in point of fact, amply evidenced by the parish accounts. 
" Behaviour," says Goethe, " is a mirror in which everyone 
shows his image," and our excuse for referring so often to 
the Churchwardens' accounts is that they reflect most 
honestly the hates and bias of the times, and hold, as 'twere, 
the mirror up to Nature and to Truth severe : — 

Churchwardens' Accounts, 1652-3. 

Received of Mr. Edward Martyn for 53 pound weight 

of Gunpowder after the rate of iiij//. y^ barrell ...xhji-. iij^'. 

Of Mr. Ffreeman Marchant for foure barrells of Gun- 
powder ... ... ... ... ... ... ... xvj/z. 

* Heath's Chronicle, 

The Tramcd-bands. 289 

Paid to the Bearers and three Porters for bringing home 
the firehooks from Widdow Glassington's at Tuthill 
bridge ... ... ... ... ... ... ... xijV. 

Paid for boat-hire when we went to London and sould 

foure barrells of Gunpowder ... ... ... ... xijV/. 

Paid to Mr. Hatton Gardiner for making y^ paire of 

Shooting Butts in Tuttle fields ... ... ... \s. 

To Peter Carle and Harris labourers for trenching the 

Butts to preserve them from Cattell ... ... ... xxxj-. 

Paid to Mr. Browne, Carpenter, for a planke and piles to 

make Bridges over to the same Butts ... ...v\\]s.v]d. 

Allowed to Mr. ffreeman when wee sould the foure 
barrells of Gunpowder to him in respect of some 
want of weight, and for carriage of it to his house ...viiji'. v]d. 

Paid for levelling the ground in Tuttle fields before the 

Butts \\]s. 

Whitelocke* records that on the 25th August, 165 1, the 
" Trained Bands of London, Westminster, &c., drew out 
into Tuttle Fields, in all about 14,000 ; the speaker and 
divers members of the Parliament were there to see them." 
A few days afterwards (September 3) Cromwell had gained 
the decisive Battle of Worcester; and on the 21st, the 
victorious general was met near Acton, " with the Speaker 
and the Members, and the Lord Mayor, and Recorder 
Steel, who in a set speech congratulated his great Successes, 
and like a false Prophet, by a mistaken Prolepsis, applied 
these words of the Psalmist, — To biiide their Kings in 
Chains, and their Nobles in Fetters of Iron, in an arrogant 
Exaltation of his Achievements. Next day the Common 
Prisoners (being driven like a herd of swine) were brought 
through Westminster into TothilL Fields (a sadder spectacle 
was never seen, except the miserable place of their defeat) 
and there sold to several Merchants, and sent to the Barba- 
does ; the Colours taken, were likewise hanged up in 
Westminster-hall, with those taken before at Preston and 

* Sir Bulstrode Whitelocke's Memorials of English Affairs, 1862. 

t A Chronicle of the late Intestine War in the Three Kingdo?ns, by Tames 
Heath, 1661 — p. 301. 

290 TotJiill-fields. 

One of the Civil War Tracts of Lancashire tells the 
shameful story with every mark of callous insolence: — 

Friday the 12 of Sept., 165 1, my Lord General drew near to the City of 
London and my Lord Mayor, and Aldermen, Sheriffs, and Recorder 
met about 10 of the clock in the forenoon at Guildhall in their Scarlet 
robes, and with a dozen coaches went forth to meet his Excellency, a 
little beyond Acton, unto whom Mr. Recorder made a congratulatory 
speech in behalf of the whole City ; he was also met on the way by 
many Lords, the Speaker of Parliament and Members of the Council 
of State as also many thousands of citizens both horse and foot (yet 
the Train-band went not forth) which filled the ways and places-best 
scituate for beholders four or five miles together. First came his Life- 
guards being a Company of as gallant Genl. as you have seen 
mounted, heroick, and valiant ; after them a Troop of Col. Rows 
horse belonging to the City, next unto them a great number of Com- 
moners and Gent, of quality, then his Excellency and the Speaker of 
Parliament came in a coach by themselves, and by estimation at least 
three hundred coaches close after one another. 

At Hide Park corner near Knightsbridge stood to receive him the 
blew Regiment of Voluntiers lately raised, and from thence to Picca- 
dilly was placed Col. Barkstcads Regiment of red-coats, the great guns 
were also drawn out of St. Jameses, and about the time that his 
Excellency came to Charing Crosse they went off one after another once 
over which they had no sooner done, but there was a gallant volley of 
shot given by the souldiers that brake the air, and with a mighty 
shout of the people ecchoed again to the earth, with order in the 
manner aforesaid with great and small shot, and hallowing of the 
people was observed and done four severall times over. 

As the Generall passed by, the people all along as he went put off 
their hats and had reciprocal respects return'd from him again ; his 
Excellency chose rather to come in as privately as he- could in a coach 
then openly on horseback, to avoid the popularity and applaises of the 
people, desiring rather that the good he doth do this Common-wealth 
may be heard and felt than seen, that the people should attribute or 
ascribe too much unto him, who desires to carry on the work of the 
Lord in all meeknesse and humility. 

The last night the Scots, Highlands, or Redshanks, about 4000 in 
number lay on Hampstead heath, four miles from London, and this 
day they were with a guard brought by Highgate on the back-side of 
Islington to Kingsland, and from thence to Milingreen they were 
suffered to receive such charity as people would give them, and 
had a cart-load or two of biskit carrying after them, which is better 
food then heretofore they carried in their Oatmeal bag. The next day 
being Saturday they were brought in at Algate, and so marched 
through cheap-side. Fleet-street and the Strand, and likewise through 
Westminster. For the most part they were very sturdy surley knaves, 
keep them under, and they may serve for nasty stinking vassals, I 


TJie Scottish prt sorters. 291 

leave to every indifferent person that hath beheld them to judge what 
a condition they had been in if such a generation as this had prevailed 
and become their masters, or cut their throats, of which they made 
themselves so sure many of them brought their wives and berns in 
with them, yet were many of our Scotified Citizens so pittifuU unto 
them, that as they passed through the City made them (though 
prisoners at mercy) masters of more money and good white-bread 
than some of them ever see in their lives, they marched this nigdit into 
Tuttle-fields, some Irish are amongst them, and most of them are 
habited much after that fashion, the English that were at the battel 
are severed out by themselves ; they are not yet come, but are coming 

Twelve hundred of these poor fellows, who had succumbed 
to their rigorous treatment, were buried in the Fields. 
The churchwardens' accounts of 1652-3 exhibit the following 
eloquent entry : — 

Paid to Thomas Wright for 67 load of soyle laid on the 
Graves inTuthill fields wherein 1,200 Scotch prisoners 
(taken at the fifight at Worcester) were buried and for 
other paines taken with his teeme of horsse about 
amending the Sanctuarye high way when Generall 
Ireton was buried ... ... ... ... ... xxxs. 

The accounts of the previous year (165 1 ) are even more 
interesting as showing the local feeling of the time, and 
bear sad witness to the extraordinary brutality shown to 
the conquered. Livy's woeful exclamation of Vae victis 
was never more gloomily testified. 

Received of the right hono^'e the Counsell of State to- 
ward reperacon and cleansing of the new Church, 
and the new Churchyard after the Scottish prisoners 
had much annoyed and spoiled the same ... ... xxx//. 

Paid to the Ringers for ringing on the fourth of Septem- 
ber, upon intelligence of ye overthrow of the Scottish 
Army att Worcester vjj. 

Paid to the Ringers for ringing on the foure and twen- 
tieth day of October, being a day of thanksgiving for 
the victorie over the Scotts att Worcester ... ... vij^. 

Paid for hearbs and lawrell that were strewd in the 

Church the same daie ... ... ... ... ... viijs. 

* Tract in the King's Library Collection at the Brit. Mus. Another victory 
in Lancashire obtained over the Scots by Alaj. Gen. Harrison and Colloncl 
Lilburn. . . . London, printed by B.A. — mdcli. 

292 Tothill-ficlds. 

Paid to Robert Crispe and sundry other labourers for 
digging trenching and cleansing the new Churchyard 
whereby the annoyance made by the Scottish 
prisoners there was destroyed... ... ... xxxixi'. \\\]d. 

Paid to Ralph Lynes for carrying away part of the soyle 
and filth out of the new Church which the Scotch 
prisoners made there ... ... ... ... ... iji'. \]d. 

Paid for a petition to the Comittee of Prisoners for a 
recompence for iniurie done by the Scotch prisoners 
in the new Church and churchyard . . ... ... yX]d. 

Paid to Mr. PTrosts clerke for an Order of the Counsell 
of State, whereby Thirtie pounds was ordered in 
respect of the said iniuries ... ... ... ... vs. 

In justice, however, to the Churchwardens of the year 1650, 
the following payment ought to be quoted, as it would 
appear to show that, before the Battle of Worcester had 
been fought and won, their ears had not been rendered 

deaf to 

" The still sad music of humanity" 

by the exulting psalms of Cromwell's Ironsides: — 

October (1650). — To Prisoners in distresse that came out 

of Scotland ... ... ... ... ... ... xijrt'. 

Some of the prisoners, as we have seen, were shipped to the 
Barbadoes, and Whitelock states in his Clironide (Septem- 
ber 30, 1 651), in his matter of fact way, that, ''upon the 
desire of the Guinea merchants, fifteen hundred of the 
Scots prisoners were granted to them, and sent on ship- 
board to be transported to Guinea to work in the mines 
there, and upon a quarrel among the soldiers in the barges, 
two or three hundred of them were drowned." 

Even a more sorrowful but yet a more humane use is 
next found for these fields. And here we come to a period 
which is perhaps more immediately associated with Tothill- 
fields than any other — the time of the Plague. On the 
ruins of the Cromwellian earthworks was shortly afterwards 
erected, as being somewhat removed from the town, a 
lazarette of boards, called "the Pest-houses," for the 
reception of the poor folk suffering from the periodic 
visitations of the Plague — for there were many " tymes of 

"' /;/ tJiis still place remote from men'' 293 

sycknesse " in Westminster,* which led up to and culminated 
in the Great Plague of 1665-6. 

" Time never knew, since he begunne his houres 
(For aught we reade), a plague so long remaine 
In any cittie as this plague of ours ; 

For now six years in London it hath laine." 

The Triui/tph of Death, By John Davies, 1609. 

Either the parochial fathers or some such kindly 

philanthropist as " My Lord Craven " thus early instituted 

the principal of field hospital isolation, now-a-days so 

extensively adopted by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. 

The churchwardens' accounts contain the following : — / 

Disbursements for repaires done to the Pesthouses in 

tuthill fields and for other necessaries there 

VIZT. : — 
165 1. Paid to ffrancis Day Carpenter for a doore and 
doore case and for other stufife used and worke 
done at the Pesthouses. As by his bill and receipt 

appeareth iij//. xvij^-. 

Paid to John Lewis for mending the tyling where the 

sunne dyall stands neere the Pesthouses ... ... ij^^. \']d. 

Paid to Thomas Salloway and John Atkins labourers for 
digging and trenching of 2)7 rod and a halfe and 4 
foot of ditching att \\\]s. the rod ... ... ... vij//. xj^'. 

Paid more to the said Thomas Salloway and John Atkins 
for thi'owing downe the loame which was digged out 
of the ditch and for levelling the ground there ... xviij.y. 
Paid more to the said Thomas Salloway and John Atkins 
for two dales labour in going to Hide Park and 
bringing bushes thence and for setting them about 
the gate of the Pesthouses and for other labour there \\]s. 
Paid for 1 500 of cjuick-sett for a third rowe sett before 

the ditch there vj^-. myi. 

1652. Paid to Richard Parrock Smith for work done at 
ye Pesthouses in Tuttlefields and at the new Cage in 

the Sanctuary xxj^. 

Paid to Mr. Hawes for an Elme pipe laid to Convey 
water into y^ Ditch neere y^ pesthouses and for car- 
riage of the pipe V]S. 

and in the accounts of 1672 : — 

For settmg up 2 pumps, i at y^ Pesthouse and i at the 

Shooting-hous, as by Bill xiij/z. 

To a porter 6d., fifor a shovell i. 6., for a Trusse of 

Straw 6d \]s. \]d. 

* Notably the years 1603, 1625. 

294 Tfltliill-fidds. 

To — Bayley for 2 Stones to lay under the pumpe as 

by Bill v.f. \yi. 

To John Lewis, Bricklayer, as by Bill ... xvijj'. 

To Mr. Hawes for a pype, and for carrying and place- 

ing it at ye pest house ... ... ... ... \s. 

The accounts relating to the Great Plague, which were 
kept separately from the ordinary payments by the church- 
wardens of the time, were accidentally discovered in the 
tower of St. Margaret's Church in 1885. They bear the 
signatures of worthy Emery Hill and Francis Dorington, 
as the justices by whom they were ' allowed,' and were 
printed for the first time by the Rev. R. Ashington Bullen, 
B.A., in the St. Margarcfs Parish Magazine. They are en- 
titled to a reproduction here with Mr. Bullen's notes : — 

"The visitation is commonly supposed to have been in 1665, but 
according to this document it lasted in Westminster for the 32 weeks 
of 1666 from April 9th till November 5th. 

"The first part of this paper consists of a weekly account of 
expenditure for what may be termed extraordinary expenses, i.e.., for 
special cases, and also payments to watchmen (warders) in certain 
streets and to nurses at the pest-house. We quote a few items, retain- 
ing the incorrect, varying and Cjuaint spellings :- 

Weeke i. April 9th. 

2 weeke „ i6th 

Elizabeth Helyer a stranger taken up 
at ye new Buldings and sent to ye 
Pest-house and for a nurs to attend 

her ... 46 

ffor 2 men to carry her to ye Pest-house 2 o 
ffor a trusse of straw ... ... ... 08 

To the searchers for Inquisition on 

three persons ... ... ... 16 

3 weeke ffor carrying ye goods of severall per- 

sons from St. Steph : Ally to the 

Pest-house ... ... ... ... 26 

to 2 porters for loding ye sd. goods ... 30 
To a warder at Roberts in S. Stephnes 

Ally 4 dayes and 2 night ... ... 5 o 

To Dian. Tanner,| An Roberts, Eliz. 

and An Turmage at ye Pest-house. . 9 4 

* This item occurs nearly every- week until he probably died (perhaps of the 
Plague) about Oct. ist. 

t For fastening up the empty houses from which the plague-stricken had 
been removed. 

:;: Probably nurses at the I'est-house, 

.f. d. 

Wood* a Warder in Peter Street 


ffor 2 padlockst 

I 4 

TJie Plague in Westminster. 295 

To a warder at Biggs one weeke ... 36 
4 weeke. April 30th. To 2 nurses for watching with An 

Thomas 4 nights at ye Pest-house.. 5 6 
ffor a coach to carry Ann Thomas to St. 

Martin'sand thence to ye Pest-house 2 6 
To a warder at ye Owle ... ... i o 

To Wood a warder in St. Steph : Ally 3 o 

6 weeke. May 14th. To the 2 children of An Thomas at ye 

Pest-house and a nurse to attend 

them ... 56 

7 weeke. May 21st. Sym. Buggy Warder in ye new way.. 3 o 

To Pirie 3 in ffamily ... ... ... 6 6 

8th weeke. ffor carrying John Pirie's goods and 

ffamily from St. Stephn's Ally to ye 
Pest-house ... ... ... ... 6 6 

16 weeke. To Henry Weeden for padlocks as 

by his Bill appeareth 11 6 

17 weeke. July 30. To Wm. Haithorne to by shoes 

Stockins and Bodice for one of ye 

childr : of El: Thomas ... ... 3 6 

18 weeke. Aug. 6. Symon Buggy a warder in Tuttle Street 3 o 
21 ,, Aug. 27. ffor carrying A man to ye pest-house 

who came from Exeter to ye Sanc- 
tuary ... ... ... ... ... 30 

ffor necessaries whilst he was there... 3 6 
ffor Burying ye man that came from 

Exeter 30 

26 „ Oct. I. Wm. Haythorne to by cloathes for ye 

sayd child (Thomas) ... ... 2 o 

These are the chief items ; many of them occur again and again. 
The plague seems to have ended by Nov. 5th, as there are no further 
entries after that date, and the expenditure during the last 2 weeks 
amounted to only 4 shillings. 

The Second part of these Accounts is even of more interest than the 
foregoing, and shows a total expense of more than ^1700, representing 
an expenditure at the present day of probably £7000 or more. 


Payd To John Lee for casting a Ditch and makeing the -^ * 

Banks about the pest-house 
for A Lock and Key for A House shutt up in Wood St. 
for 2 Pound of ffume to Burn in Visited Houses... 
To John Angier carpenter, and John Lewis Bricklayer 

for Building a shedd at ye Pest-house ... ... 10 o 

To Henry Weeden for Padlocks, Hasps and Staples to 

affixe to ye visited Houses and for casements and 

other Iron works at ye Pest-house... ... ... 02 16 










































296 TotJiill-ficlds. 

For a bagg of Lime to Ayre the Visited houses 

For locks and other things for )'C visited at Kniglitsbr : 
For a \\arrant for summoning scverall persons before ye 
Justices who Refused to pay their taxe for ye 

visited "= •■• 

For straps for the Sedan t ... 

A cart to carry ye visited corps to ye graves I : W : i ... 

For 2 wheelbarrows ... 

For a Sedan for the visited 

Expended in Bymg Physick for the Visited at the Pest- 
houses ... 

To Apothecary for Physick Drugs as p Bill 

To Jon. Angier for 2 shutting windows at ye Search-house 

To John Angier for erecting a new Bonehouse 

For Pouwder and Shott and Watching to kill ye Doggs 

To ffranc Brockhurst in pt. for Shrouds 

To the Pitmaker for his care in providing Room for ye 

visited corps 

For covering the Ground in ye New Chappell yard 
For 4 Que. (quire) of Dr. Cox's Divertions against ye 
plague ... 

To ffrancis Brockhurst pte. for shrouds 

To him more upon the same Acct.... ... 10 00 

To John Lennard for his extraordinary paynes in keeping 
the Acct. for the Visited and all other writeings, 
trouble and care thereabouts ... .. ... 20 o o 

Allowed unto ourselves for the graves of 2,954 Poor 
people buryed in this parish this yeare called Nils 
at one penny A Piece By order ... ... ... 12 6 2 

To the Dog- killer from the 2nd of August to ye i6th of 


For A Mopp and A Broom 

To the Dog-killer for burying 353 Dogs ... 

The Totall of all the Receipts 

„ „ ye Disbursements 
Soe there Rests due to these Accoumpts 

* This item occurs 1 1 times, sometimes for 4 summonses at once. 

t A closed chair with handles used for carrying ladies. Introduced into 
London, A.D. 1634, "because of the noise, confusion and danger produced by 
hackneys, and to save the wear and tear of the streets." To ease the burden 
on the aims of the two carriers, straps or leather thongs were passed over the 
shoulder which hung down in front and having holes through which the chair 
handles went, helped to take the weight of the chair. Such a chair is figured 
in Thompson's England, Vol. IL , 627, see also II., 767, 768 : Vol. III., 406. 

\ This item occurs six times, I : W ; means i week. 











1 1 





Enlargement of the Pest-Jiouses. 297 

Be it remembered that this Acct. was Audited the Ninth day of 
September 1667 : By us whose names are hereunto subscriljed And 
was found Just in every part. Emery Hill. 


That the ' local authorities ' of Westminster were not 
taken unawares would be gathered from the subjoined 
entry in the Vestry minutes : — 

\i\tJi July, 1665. That the Churchwardens doe forthwith proceed 
to the making of an Additional provision for the Reception of 
the pooie Visited of the Plague at the Pest House in Tuttle 
fifeildes. And that they doe Treatewith & agree with such 
workemen for performing the same as they shall thinke fitt. 
And that they Defrey the Charge thereof out of such Moneys 
as they already have in their Hands or hereafter shall receive 
for that purpose by Order of the Vestry or otherwaies. 
Strype's Stow (1720) refers to these pest-houses, and 
Seymour in his Survey (1735) copies him word for word : — 
In Tothill-fields, which is a large spacious Place, there are certain 
Pest-houses, now made use of by 12 poor Men and their Wives, as 
long as it shall please God to keep us from the Plague. These Pest- 
houses are built near the Meads as being remote from people. 

The " Five Houses " or " Seven Chimneys," as they were 
called, are shown in a slight etching made of them by 
Hollar. Thither many a sinister group bore the litter of 
the stricken, lighted by flaring torch or feeble lanthorn, not 
so much with any hope of recovery, as that the spread of 
the dire infection might thereby be checked. As the 
pestilence increased in virulence under the fierce brazen 
sky of that awTul summer, the Fields became a plague-pit, 
and the lanes and purlieus of Westminster — 

Thereby themselves to save 
Did vomit out their undigested dead, 
Who by cart-loads were carried to the grave ; 
F"or all these lanes with folk were overfed. 

Terrible, indeed, comments Walcott, though the skies 

were bright, as if in mockery, must have been the state 

of Westminster at the time ! 

" A midnight silence at the noon of day 
And grass, untrodden, si)rings beneath the feel'. ' 

2g^ Tothill-fields. 

It would be presumption to attempt to describe the 
ravages of "London's Dreadful Visitation,"* while the lurid 
pages of Defoe and Evelyn, and Clarendon and Linguard, 
remain on our book-shelves. Pepys writes in his diary 
(Oct. i6, 1665) "They tell me that in Westminster there is 
never a physician and but one apothecary left, all being 
dead;" and again (July 18, 1665): " I was much troubled 
to hear, at Westminster, how the officers do bury the dead 
in the open Tuttle Fields, pretending want of room else- 
where : whereas the New Chapel -yard ■]- was walled in at 
the public charge in the last plague-time, merely for want 
of room ; and now none, but such as are able to pay dear 
for it, can be buried there." An idea of the ravages of the 
disease in Westminster may be gathered from the fact 
that nearly 3,000 persons who succumbed thereto, were 
buried at the expense of the parish. 
Stand aloof, 

And let the Pest's triumphant chariot 

Have open way advancing to the tomb 

See how he mocks the pomp and pageantry 

Of earthly kings ! A miserable cart 

Heap'd up with human bodies ; dragg'd along 

By pale steeds, skeleton-anatomies ! 

And onwards urged by a wan meagre wretch, 

Doom'd never to return from the foul pit. 

Whither, with oaths, he drives his load of horror. 

Would you look in ? Grey hairs and golden tresses, 

Wan shrivell'd cheeks that have not smiled for years, 

And many a rosy visage smiling still ; 

Bodies in the noisome weeds of beggary wrapt, 

With age decrepit, and wasted to the bone ; 

And youthful frames, august and beautiful, 

In spite of mortal pangs, — there lie they all. 

Embraced in ghastliness ! 

John Wilson. 

Mr. Jesse, in his Memorials of London, thus graphically 
describes the state of Westminster at the time: " In those 
dreadful days, during the raging of the plague in 1665 — 

* A collection of all the Bills of Mortality for 1665 were published under this 

t Now Christ Church, \'ictoria-street. 

" The greatest infection that e'er teas heard.''^ 299 

when the red cross and the ' Lord, have mercy upon us ' 
were painted on the doors of half the liouses in London ; 
when the dead-cart went its round in the still night, and 
the tinkle of the bell, and the cry of ' Bring out your dead,' 
alone broke the awful silence — ^it was in a vast pit in the 
neighbourhood of the Artillery Ground that the frequent 
dead-carts discharged their noisome cargoes by the fitful 
light of the torches which the buryers held in their hands. 
Li one of the journals of the period w^e find a complaint 
made, in regard to these burial places, that ' the bodies are 
piled even to the level of the ground, and thereby poison 
the whole neighbourhood.' The Pest House in the fields 
beyond Old-street, and that in Tothill-fields, appear to 
have been the two principal ones in the neighbourhood of 
the metropolis." * 

" The stoppage of the plague, after all human efforts had 
been tried as it were, with only partial success, was by 
many regarded as supernatural. De Foe was of this 
opinion, and he uses language particularly strong in ex- 
pre.ssing it. ' Nothing ' he says, ' but the immediate finger 
of God, nothing but omnipotent power could have put a 
stop to the infection. The contagion despised all medicine ; 
death raged in every corner ; and had it gone on as it did 
then, a few weeks more would have cleared the town of all, 
and of every thing that had a soul. Men every where began 
to despair, every heart failed them for fear : people were 
made desperate through the anguish of their soul, and the 
terrors of death sat in every countenance.' " 

Whatever deference may be given to the idea of an 
immediate interposition of Providence, the alteration of the 
weather in September was doubtless a principal means by 
which the spreading of the pestilence was arrested. Echard, 
whose authority was Dr. Baynard, " an ingenious and 
learned physician," speaking of the state of the seasons 
whilst the infection raged, says that 'there was such a 

* Memorials of London, by J. Heneage Jesse ; 1847. 

300 TotJiill-fields. 

general calm and serenity of weather, as if both wind and 
rain had been expelled the kingdom, and for many weeks 
together he could not discover the least breath of wind, not 
even so much as would move a fan ;' that ' the fires in the 
streets with great difficulty were made to burn ; ' and that 
'by the extreme rarefaction of the air, the birds did pant for 
breath, especially those of the larger sort, who were like- 
wise observed to fly more heavily than usual.' 

The suspension of public business, in the height of the 
contagion, was so complete, that grass grew within the very 
area of the exchange, and even in the principal streets of 
the city. All the inns of court were shut up, and all law 
proceedings suspended. Neither cart nor coach was to be 
seen from morning till night, excepting those employed in 
the conveyance of provisions, in the carriage of the infected 
to the pest-houses, or other hospitals, and a few coaches 
used by the physicians. The pest-houses, of which there 
were only two, were situated in Bunhill-fields, near Old- 
street, and in Tothill-fields, Westminster. These were 
found to be of the greatest utility, yet the hurry and multi- 
plicity of cases, which the rapid increase of the pestilence 
occasioned, prevented the establishing of any more.* 

The West London Press, September, 1 886, contained the 
following suggestive paragraph : — 

Discovery of Ten Skeletons in a Garden in Westminster. 

A correspondent writes : — " Last Thursday week, during some ex- 
cavations made for foundations for new buildings in a new street which 
will cut across the grounds of the Grey Coat Hospital in Westminster, 
the workmen, at about 3 ft. 6 in., below the surface, came across ten 
skeletons supposed to have been buried there at the time of the plague 
or some such epidemic. The Hospital dates back to 1695. They were 
laid feet to feet in regular order. Two of them appeared to be females 
from the shape of the skulls, and one a lad of 20. Some of the bones 
were very large, and some of the teeth were in good preservation. 
The remains were all carefully collected, and placed in a box for re-in- 

Allen's History of London, p. 398. 

Lord Cravens account of the. Plague. 30^ 

The description given by the Earl of Craven, preserved 

in the PubHc Record Office, also furnishes an insight into 

the spread of the contagion in and about Westminster : — 

The Earl of Craven's Account of the Proceedings 

of the Justices concerning the Pestilence (Great 

Plague, 1665) 1666. [February 1665-6]. 

Since the receipt of the letter from the Lords of the Councell there 
has been severall Meetings of the Justices of the Peace both to review 
the Orders formerly made by the Councell Board as well as their owne 
and many direcons thereupon given and warrants issued forth to the 
respective officers as the present occasion required both for the pre- 
servation of the inhabitants from the infection of the plague as well as 
making provision for such as were shut up and were in want. 

The Lord Bishop of London was consulted with all concerning 
buriall places who could not consecrate any ground unless a perpetua- 
tie of the same be first obtayned. 

Nevertheless the Justices have directed that such persons who dye 
of the sicknesse shalbe buried in the late usuall places assigned for 
that purpose. 

Such infected who were removable were sent to the Pest House and 
others who could not have been shut up their doors were marked wt^" 
a red crosse for 40 dayes Warders appointed to guard them within as 
well as hinder Lhe approach of Company from w'l^out, with a white 
crosse afterwards for the same time. There has been no complaints 
brought to the Justices of any neglect herein but doe believe that due 
execution hath been generally made of this order having themselves 
made a particular observation in severall places. 

The Churchyards have not been so generally covered with lyme in 
regarde of the dearnesse and scarcity thereof there being not a sufficient 
quantity to be had for that end and purpose but much fresh earth and 
lyme has been layd in many churchyards and those bodyes w-'h have 
been there buryed so deep layd that we hope no inconveniencing can 
from thence arise beside special care is taken not to open the same 
graves again. 

The streets are dayly cleansed and the filth carried away by the 
Raker who brings the carts every morning and giveing notice thereof 
to the inhabitants by the sound of his Bell to the end that every 
Perticular house alsoe may be cleared of its filth. As to the laystalls 
too neere the streets and passages much care has been taken for to 
remove them many difficulties have arisen therein by reason of titles in 
law w=h the proprietors had therein Not w^h standing by the industry 
and diligence of the Justices some are already quite removed and the 
rest we hope in a very short time wilbc removed to the great advantage 
of the inhabitants as well as to the satisfaction of the Lords of the 
Councell order. 

Beggars have ben and are da)'!y removed and punished and 
pro\ision made for the poore of each parish according to law. 

362 Tothill-fidds. 

As to the state of the pest house the Justices have frequently and 
very lately considered of it and doe conceive it highly convenient 
for the Preservation of the adjoining' Parishes that they were enlarged: 
that in Westminster being able to contayne but 60 persons, and that 
other in the Sohoe but 90 person w^h now "serve for St Martins St 
Clements St Paul Covent Garden and St Mary Savoy ; Scarce large 
enough for one of the sayd parishes. That in St Gyles will contain 
but 60 persons w^h considering the multitude of poore in that parish 
cannot be of any considerable use if the sicknesse brake out amongst 
them. Now how these may be enlarged or indeed continued as they 
are for the publique use of the forementioned parishes the ordinary 
taxes and parochial duties being so numerous the middling sort of 
persons soe much impoverished by the late Calamity of the Plague so 
few or rather none of the Nobility & gentry likely to continue here in 
case it should please God that the Plague brake out againe is submitted 
to the wisdome of the boarde whose ayde and assistance is w'h all 
humility and speed begged herein it being the most probable meaness 
of hindering the Spreading of the Contagiun amongst us. 

The business of inmates & inhabitants in cellars has been very often 
debated and adjudged upon by the Justices and although many diffi- 
culties have appeared to them by reason of particular leases and con- 
tracts between their respecti\e householders and inmates for a certain 
term of yeares yet to come and in regard that severall of the said 
inmates most of which are poore necessitious persons and if once re- 
moved would prove excessively chargable to the parishes (which at this 
period are least able to bear it) the Justices have made a progresse 
herein ha\ing conxened before them all the respective landlords w'hn 
the adjacent parishes and taken account of each particular case to the 
end that in a short t)'me they doubt not but to gi\e a good account 
hereof, very many being remo\ed alread)' and are dayly remo\-ing. 

The " Five Houses" are described by an anonymous 
writer as retaining in 1832 much of their primitive appear- 
ance. " With the moss and lichens growing on the roofs 
and walls, and their generally old-fashioned quaintness, a 
very small stretch of the imagination removed the buildings 
which had surrounded them even then, and brought them 
once more into the open ground." In that year "these 
houses yet excited some curiosity and a measured drawing 
was made of them at that time. 

" Passing up the narrow court, the primitive little group, 
warranted, perhaps, the idea of a still earlier date for 
their building. The reddish grey tone of the old brick- 
work, where the lime whiting had disappeared, and the 

Another view of the Pest-houses. 


304 TotJiill-ficlds. 

mosses on the roofs, seemed quite out of character with the 
growing neighbourhood surrounding" them. The old palings 
here and there yet indicated where the pigs and the chickens 
had been kept, and had not long kept their habitation. Over 
one of the doors was nailed the horse-shoe, so salutary a 
preventive against the entrance of the witch, and even a 
belief in its efficacy was at the time elicited from the old 
woman with whom the young measurer of the buildings had 
his early morning conversation."* 

But it is time to turn to brighter scenes. 

Tothill Fields were at one time called " Tuttle-in-the- 
maze " from there having been formerly a maze here ; it is 
shown in Hollar's view previously referred to. In 1672 the 
Churchwardens caused the same to be renovated : — 

Paid to Mr. Wm. l>rewer for making" a Maze in Tuthill 

ffeilds as by Bill .. ... ... ... ... 200 

Aubrey,t the antiquary, mentions it — 

" There is a Maze at this day in Tuthill Fields, Westminster, and 
much frequented in the summer time in fair afternoons." 

To these pleasantly rural fields the good people of West- 
minster, in the middle of the seventeenth century, were 
wont to resort — 

When toil remitting lent its turn to play, 

And all the village train from labour free, 

Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree — ■ 

While many a pastime circled in the shade. 

The )'oung contending as the old surveyed ; 

And many a gambol frolicked o'er the ground. 

And sleights of art and feats of strength went round. 

And still as each repeated pleasure tired, 

Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired — 


while others, fonder of meditation's calm repose, might 

* The Builder, Jan. 30, 1875. 
i John Aubry, naturalist and anti([uary, 1626— 1697; published MiHcllaiiies^ 

TJic maze. A fatal duel. 305 

stroll along the Willow Walk, or pass the well-cultivated 
gardens here to be found, listening the while to — - 

The chanting hnnet, or the mellow thrush 
Hailing the setting sun, sweet, iri the green thorn-bush, 
The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill. 
Or deep-toned plovers, grey, wild whistling o'er the hill. 


The Glossary illustrating EnglisJi AutJiors by Archdeacon 
Nares* has the following article — 

" Ttettte, the Maze in; — that is, the maze in Tothill Fields. Of these 
fields let me speak with the respect which Dr. Johnson, in the first 
edition of his Dictionary, paid to Grub-street. They were the 
Gymnasium of my youth ; but whereabouts the maze was once situated, 
I have not been able to discover. It was probably a garden for public 
resort, in that rural situation ; and at the back of it, an unfrequented 
spot was used, as more lately the field at the back of Montague Hou'se 
(now the British Museum) as a place of appointment for duellists." 

In an old play attributed to John Cook (1614) called 
" Green's Tu Quogue, or The Cittie Gallant," occur the 
following lines (VII., 53.) 

Sp. And I will meet thee in the field as fairly 
As the best gentleman that wears a sword I 
S. I accept it. The meeting-place ? 
Sp. Beyond the Maze in Tuttle. 

According to Cunningham the last duel fought here took 
place in 1711 between Sir Cholmeley Bering and Mr. 
Richard Thornhill, the notorious bully. The combatants 
fought with swords and then with pistols, their weapons 
being so near that the muzzles touched. Dering, who was 
to have been married the next week, was killed at the 
first shot. 

" In October, 1670," says Mr. Walcott, " a complaint was 
made to the Dean that certain persons sold the land, by 
many loads in the day, and destroyed the herbage ; so 

* Robert Nares, Archdeacon of Stafford, A.M., F. R.S., Sec, received his 
first education at Westminster School, where in 1767, at the early age of 14, 
he was at the head of his election as King's Scholar. In 1800 he married the 
daughter of the Revd. Dr. Smyth, headmaster of Westminster School. He 
was one of the founders of the Royal Society of Literature. It is to his 
Glossary (published 1822) that he owes his literary fame. Died, 1829, 

3o6 Tflthill-ficlds. 

that the place had become an annoyance to passengers, 
having been ' formerly of great use, pleasure and recreation ' 
to the King's scholars and neighbours." 

What a number of famous men have " gone up Fields " 
to pla)', or loiter, or dream, according to their bo}'ish 
temperament ! To mention onl}^ a few — Ben Jonson ( 1 574) ; 
William Heminge, the dramatic writer and fellow actor of 
Shakespeare ; Richard Busby (1606), afterwards head- 
master ; William Cartwright (161 1), the poet and divine; 
Sir Harry Vane (1612), beheaded in 1662; Sir Arthur 
Haselrigge( 161 2), 'regicide'; Cowley the poet (1618J; Adam 
Littleton (1627), the great and justly celebrated scholar ; 
the Marquis of Halifax, statesman and author ; John 
Dryden (163 1) ; John Locke (1632) ; Sir Christopher Wren 
(1632); Robert South, the divine (1633) ; Dr. Humphrey 
Prideaux (1648), the historian and divine ; Elkanah Settle, 
poet (1648); Matthew Prior ; Warren Hastings; Edward 
Gibbon, the great historian ; Robert Nares ; Lord Albemarle ; 
the boy-friends, Glynne and Wake ; Taswell, the historian ; 
Francis Atterbury, Bishop of Rochester, Samuel I'ell, 
George Herbert, Dr. John Wilson, Dr. G. Hooper, Dr. N. 
Onley, Dr. Zachary Pearce, Samuel and Charles W^esle)', 
Vincent Bourne, Wm. Cowper, Wm. Murray (Earl Mans- 
field), T. Sheridan, Chas. Churchill, Wm. Burke, the 
Cumberlands, the Colmans, the Lnpeys, Dr. Vincent, the 
Lloyds, Lord Pitt Lennox, Robert Southe)', Dr. Page, Dr. 
Carey, E. Smedle}^ Patrick Colquhoun, Henry Mayhew, 
G. A. Hent)-, Dean Milman, F. Hale Forshall, Dr. H. G. 

The solitary character of this tract of land, spreading out 
to the Chelsea-road, beyond which lay the " Five P'ields " 
extending to Knightsbridge, is illustrated by an incident 
not uncommon to the neighbourhood, at a period when the 
highwayman would lie in ambush for the belated pedestrian, 
or for the chaise, which in this instance was conveying not 
the most loyal subjects of George H. from one of those 

Masked ^detectives! 307 

political meetings when the mug-house riots were at their 

" Such was the disturbed condition of society, that two 
witnesses were sufficient for the immediate arrest of any 
party suspected of harbouring either Romish priest, or 
other of proven Jacobite politics, and great abuses were 
consequent upon this hasty legislation. The panic created by 
the rumoured march of the Highlanders, with the numerous 
party of the disaffected in London, kept the alarmed citizens 
wakeful in their beds ; for the Highlanders were feared as 
a terrible race, and possibly no anticipated result had been 
surrounded with greater doubt and uncertainty, but that 
the energy of the king, backed as it was by the commercial 
interests of the Londoners, threw the balance in favour of 
the new dynasty. In the summer of 1745, two adherents 
of the House of Stuart, — one a young officer in the 
Pretender's army, — had hired a chaise to convey them from 
Westminster to the then remote village of Chelsea. To 
avoid the rioting in the town, they had taken a route across 
the less disturbed fields. They had not proceeded very far, 
however, before two well-mounted men made their appear- 
ance, and so suddenly that had they risen out of the earth 
it could not have surprised them more. Both men bore 
masks, and whilst one of them stopped the post-boy, the 
other rode up to the window of the chaise, and scrutinised 
the occupants within. The post-boy spoke in too low a 
tone to be heard by the travellers, but whatever might 
have been the nature of the conversation it was sufficiently 
talismanic to relieve the party of their apprehensions. 
Making a sign to his companion, both men turned their 
horses' heads in the direction of the town, and the postboy 
proceeded on his journey. Upon reaching their destination, 
they asked the 'boy' who his rather suspicious-looking 
friends were, to which he returned no answer; but upon being, 
pressed again on the subject, said, ' It's not much matter 
who they are, but they belong to those who don't care to 

3o8 rothill-fields. 

meddle with Prince Charley's boys ! ' The mystery seemed 
now greater than before, and further inquiry might only 
have involved further difficulty. It was evident the postboy 
knew too much, but in what manner he had become 
acquainted with their political bias it was impossible for 
them to conceive. Treating the matter, however, as a joke, 
and paying the boy handsomely, the matter ended, but 
their anxiety only terminated by their quitting London for 
the North. The widow of one of these gentlemen died in 
1824, at the advanced age of ninety-five years. After the 
amnesty, her husband, who fought at the Battle of Culloden, 
had, in common with others some curious restraint laid 
upon him, one of which was that he could not ride a horse 
of a higher value than £\o, without forfeiture of it to any 
one who chose to avail himself of the prohibition."* 

From the minute-books of the Vestry of the then undi- 
vided parish, it would appear that in the seventeenth century 
the Dean and Chapter again and again laid claim to the 
ownership of the land, but without success. In 1696 the 
Dean and Chapter revived their claims to the freehold ; and 
a committee, consisting of Mr. Justice Railton, Mr. Hugh 
Squier, Mr. John Parker, Mr. Charles Rampayne, and others 
were directed to investigate the claim, and to search the 
ancient deeds and records relating to the title ; but as the 
Vestry,in 1 701 -1704 sanctioned the erection of Mrs. Kifford's 
almshouses for poor gentlewomen on the land, the Dean and 
Chapter were not yet successful. 

All persons w^ho did not convey stable refuse, &c., on 
to the land were charged Qd. per load for the soil removed 
by them, in 1705, and the Churchwardens were instructed 
to prosecute all persons conveying sand away from the fields. 

The plough was brought into requisition to aid in main- 
taining the title of the parish : — 

No-cK I, 1754. — The Churchwardens acquainted the Vestry that 
they had caused the Buildings in Tothil Common which were 
built at the charge of this Parish in the time of the Plague in 

* The Bw'lder, Jan. 30, 1875. 

Questions of rigJit and title. 309 

King Charles the 2nd Reign for Pest-Houses & the ground & 
trees before the same to be plowed round in order to maintain 
this parishes claim & right therein. 
Resolved that this Vestry do approve thereof & that the thanks 

of this Vestry be given to the Churchwardens for their care 

in preserving the rights of this parish. 

The title was put to the test by the Dean and Chapter 
enclosing portions of the land and letting the same for 
building purposes, whereupon the Vestry directed the 
churchwardens, with such assistance as they might find 
necessary, to demolish the fence and put " a man in 
possession" on behalf of the parish. An action for trespass 
was brought against the churchwardens and others who 
took part in the demolition, and the decision was against 
the Vestry except as to certain small plots. 

In 1753 a Committee of enquiry reported that in their 
opinion the inhabitants of the two parishes had an un- 
doubted right to commoning and herbage, and that 
encroachments had been made thereon within late years. 

In 1795, the Vestry of St. Margaret having placed a 
notice-board against the houses called the "Five Chimnies " 
asserting a claim thereto, St. John's Vestry promptly 
ordered the notice to be forthwith taken down, " as the 
parish of St. Margaret have no exclusive right in the said 
property." At last, after an intermittent dispute of over a 
hundred years' duration, the Dean and Chapter took, in 
July, 1808, a determined action in asserting their claim to 
the freehold of Tothill-fields. Dr. William Vincent was 
Dean at the time (1802-15). His resolute character and 
enduring interest in Westminster School led him to set 
aside the interminable questions of law that had gathered 
around the controversy. In a letter, dated 27th July, 1808, 
George Giles Vincent, the chapter clerk, intimated " the 
intention of the Dean and Chapter immediately to inclose 
Tothill Field " ; but the wish was at the same time expressed 
" to give every accommodation possible to the parishes 
and to the inhabitants, and particularly to those persons 


310 TotJiill-jiclds. 

resident in the neighbourhood of Tothill Field." Accord- ' 
ingly the Dean and Chapter offered to preserve existing 
roads and footpaths,* and also to grant such other new 
roads and paths as might be wished for, and thought con- 
venient and consistent with reason without being prejudicial 
to their interests. The Vestry deferred giving approval, 
owing to doubts as to the rights of the Dean and Chapter. 
In the meanwhile the senior churchwarden, Mr. W. H. 
White, wrote to the chapter clerk pointing out that the 
occasion now presented itself wherein the Dean and 
Chapter might essentially accommodate the parish in a 
matter ^\'hich the Vestr)' had long and ardently wished, 
and which the Dean, as late Rector, was fully aware of, — that 
of extending the Burial Ground. Lord Grosvenor had 
long since been applied to for the purpose without the 
desired effect, and Mr. White no^^' asked that the Dean 
and Chapter would set apart in a corner of the said Field, 
a piece of ground for the parish use. The suggestion failed 
to commend itself, however, to the acceptance of the 

Hughson, in his Walks throiigJi London^ makes mention of 
Vincent-square as a " neat square, and one of the most 
spacious in London : each side consists of elegantly-con- 
structed houses, somewhat in the cottage style." On the 
east side is the church of St. Mary the Virgin {see page 224); 
on the west side, at the corner with Walcott-street, is the 

* A list of the public footpaths accompanied the letter : — 

A Road and footpath from the South side of the Horseferry Road between the Premises 

in the possession of Messrs. Watts & Son Carpenters and Mrs. Storrs House and 

Garden Grounds towards the West end to the Lands and Garden (iround in the 

possession of Mr. Vidler, Earl Grosvenor, Mrs. Miason, Messrs. Hodges and Co. 

Distillers, Mr. Burcher, and Mr. Cook's Garden Ground on Millhank and to the 

five Chimneys. 
.\ Road and footpath from the said South side of the Horseferry Road towards the 

North end to the Timber Yard on Millbank and to the Premises in the occupation 

of Barrow Slaughterer of Horses. 

A footpath from the said South side of the Horseferry Road across the Field leaving 

Mrs. Storrs house and garden Grounds on the right to North end of the Willow 

A and footpath from the West end of the Horseferry Road between the (Jrey 

Coat Hospital and the Pound towards the North end of the Willow Walk for the 

Gardeners Carts to come from Millbank down by the said Willow Walk to the 

said Road. 
A Road and footpath in the front of the Houses in Rochester Row as is now used and 

long accustomed. 

[ ^inccnt-squarc. 3 1 1 

Coldstream Guards Hospital {sec Chap. XV.), shadowing the 
Westminster Police Court {see Chap. XV.), which adjoins it. 
At the north-west corner stand St. Stephen's Church and 
schools, an eloquent monument to the munificence of the 
most benevolent lady the nineteenth century has seen. 

Dean Vincent's name is also perpetuated in Vincent- 
street, Vincent-row, and Vincent-place. There was formerly 
also a Vincent-terrace in Vincent-street, Although no 
other name could have been more fittingly applied, it is 
almost a pity that the ancient names of Tothill (except as 
to the street in St. Margaret's parish), or Bulinga \\'ere lost 
sight of or passed over. This regret was expressed by 
Mr. Thoms, the antiquarian (who lived in Westminster the 
greater part of his life), in Notes and Queries, of June 16, 
1877, wherein he declares that Dean Vincent " was a ripe 
scholar and worthy man, who, if consulted, would never have 
consented to the change." 

The ten acres which were presently to perpetuate the 
name of Dean Vincent in Vincent-square, were first marked 
out in 1 8 10 for appropriation as a playground for the 
scholars of " St. Peter's College." There would appear to 
have been no intention at first to enclose the space by 
railings, for ^3 was paid for a plough and a team of horses 
to drive deep furrows round the site, and a further sum of 
£2 4s. was given for the digging of a trench at the north- 
east end, to prevent carts and other traffic from passing 
over. A map, dated 18 16, shows a large pond existing 
near the west angle of the square. Considerable sums 
were expended after the ' reclamation ' in making the 
ground suitable for out-door sports, and subsequently for 
cricket. It was enclosed with iron railings and gates by 
the Dean anci Chapter in 1842. The eminent scholar after 
whom the square was named, whose career has already 
been noticed at p. 86, was connected with Westminster 
more closely than any one other of the Deans, for he was in 
succession scholar, under-master, head-master (1788- 1802), 

^■ 2 

312 Tothill-fields. 

a prebendary of the Abbey, rector of St. John's parish, and 
Dean of Westminster (1802-18 15). 

Dr. Vincent* succeeded Dr. Smith as headmaster in 1788, 
having therefore passed twice through his school — first as 
a boy, and secondly, from usher to headmaster. It is also 
remarkable that he almost constantly resided within the 
Abbey precincts from his eighth to his seventy-sixth year. 
His head-mastership was characterised by distinguished 
abilit}'. His scholars long remembered, sa}^s Dean Stanle}', 
his swinging pace, his sonorous quotations, and the loud L.atin 
call of Eloquere, pucr, eloquere, \\\\\\ which he ordered the 
boys to speak out. It is said that shortly after his nomin- 
ation as Dean, he met George III. on the terrace of Windsor 
Castle. The King expressed his regret at the separation 
of the See of Rochester from the Deanery. The Doctor 
replied that he was perfectly content. "If you are satisfied," 
said the King, " I am not. They ought not to have been 
separated — they ought not to have been separated." "If 
he had had the choice of all the preferments in his Majesty's 
gift, there is none," Vincent said, " that he should rather 
have had than the Deanery of Westminster." f One of the 
earliest publications of this great scholar was A Sermon 
preacJied at St. JMargarcfs, Westminster, for the Grey Coat 
School of the parish, 8vo., 1792 — a discourse which was in 
fact a proclamation and defence of its author's strong 
conservative politics, and was printed at the request 
of the Association against Republicans and Levellers, 
by whom, it is said, about 20,000 copies of it were 
distributed. But it was as an oriental geographer that Dr. 
Vincent's fame was established. His works on ancient 
commerce and navigation are monuments of profound 

* Dr. Vincent married at St. Margaret's, on 15, Aug. 1771, Hannah, (b. 3 
Aug., 1735, baptized 21 Aug. following in St. John's Church), fourth daughter 
of George Wyatt, chief clerk of the Vote office, House of Commons. Died 
17 Feb., 1807, and was buried in the Abbey. 

t Stanley's Memorials, 

Mother Hubbani and '' t/ie Duck.''' 3I3 

scholarship. His celebrated commentary on Ossian's 
Voyage of NearcJius appeared in 1797, and his History of 
the Couunerce and Navigation of the Ancients in the Indian 
Ocean in 1807. The former work was translated into 
French on the express authority of Napoleon Buonaparte. 
The Dean's second son, George Giles Vincent, was educated 
at Westminster school, and became chapter clerk in 1803 ; 
he died 28th January, 1859, and was buried in the Abbey. 
An admirable engraving of Dr. Vincent appears as a 
frontispiece to Vol. I. of Ackermann's History of JVest- 
viinster Abbey. 

Lord Albemarle, tells us in his Fifty Years of my 
Life that Tothill-fields was the Westminster play-ground 
in his time. " In one part of the field was a large pond 
called the ' duck.' Here we skated in the winter and hunted 
ducks in the summer. Near the ' duck ' lived Mother 
Hubbard, who used to let out guns to the boys. At Mother 
Hubbard's you might have fowling pieces of all sorts and 
sizes, from the ' golden touch-hole '' down to one which, 
from a deep dent in the barrel, was called ' the gun which 
shoots round the corner.' 

" The big fellows use to vapour about having shot snipe 
in Tothill-fields, but such a description of game had taken 
flight when I sported over this manor. 

" Leading from Tothill-fields was a road called the 
' Willow-walk,' * which, terminating at the ' Half-penny 
Hatch,' opened on to the Thames near to the spot on 
which Millbank Penitentiary now stands. 

" The road on each side was bordered by wretched 
hovels, to which were attached small plots of swampy 
ground which served the poor inhabitants for gardens, and 
were separated from each other by ditches. To ' follow the 
leader ' over these ditches was one of our summer amuse- 
ments." (See page t,2.) 

* Willow-walk was identical with the present Warwick-street. 

314 TotJiill-fields. 

The reader will be the more gratified if Lord Albemarle 
be allowed to proceed in his own good-humoured enter- 
taining way to tell a further anecdote of the history of 
these fields : — 

" Some little time ago, as I was talking over the changes 
of the Tothill-fields of our time with my old school-fellow 
Lord de Ros * he related to me how these same back slums 
of Westminster were once honoured with the presence of 
the most gorgeous of monarchs, and on the most gorgeous 
day of his reign — the Coronation day of George the Fourth. 

'■ I need hardly mention that while the sound of trumpets 
and firing of cannon announced that the newly-crowned 
king was receiving the homage of the nobles of Englanci 
in Westminster Hall, there were assembled outside its walls 
large multitudes of his lieges, who were expressing by 
hooting and yells their indignation that the Queen Consort 
had not been admitted to her share in the pageant. 

" This feeling had so increased towards the evening 
that the King was told if he attempted to return to his 
palace by the ordinary route, he would run the risk of 
being torn to pieces by the mob. 

" To avert this danger, it was suggested that Tothill-fields 
would be the safer way home. But who knew anything of a 
region of such ill repute ? Who but my school-fellow Lord 
de Ros, then a lieutenant of Life Guards, and forming that day 
one of his Majesty's escort ?f To him was consigned the pilot- 
age of the Royal cortege ; under his guidance it proceeded up 
Abingdon-street, along Millbank-street, tJirougJi tJic Half- 
penny Hatch and the Willow Walk, leaving the " Seven 
Chimneys " on its right. It next arrived at " Five Fields," 
now Eaton-square, passed through Grosvenor-place and by 
Constitution-hill to the back entrance of Carlton Palace, 

*Witliam, Baron de Ros, a Privy Councillor, Lieutenant-Colonel of the 4th 
Hussars, Lieutenant-Governor of the Tower ; died in 1874. 

t The escort was furnished by the first regiment of Life ( aiards. The oflicers 
were : — Major Henry Cavendish, Captain Oakes, Lieut. Hon. William 
Fitzgerald de Ros, Cornet Locke. 

George IV. finds safety there. 315 

which they did not reach till eleven o'clock at night. The 
King, as well as might be supposed, was horribly nervous, 
and kept constantly calling to the officers of the escort to 
keep well up to the carriage windows." 

Mr. W. J. Thorns, writing in the editorial chair of Notes 
and Queries of the 16 June, 1887, takes the occasion of 
correcting the two topographical errors (marked in italics) 
made by Lord Abemarle, for giving many historical par- 
ticulars concerning the locality : — 

" Before noticing the two topographical errors in the foregoing 
passage, which I have marked in itahcs, one word as to the popular 
feehng on George IV.'s coronation day. I have no doubt that in 
many parts of the metropolis it was as Lord Albemarle describes it. 
But the queen's injudicious conduct in trying to gain admission to the 
Abbey was disapproved by large masses of the spectators. I was in 
a gallery erected in St. Margaret's Churchyard, just opposite to the 
Sessions House, when she passed. I had, from the corner of Parlia- 
ment Street, seen her entrance into London amidst the shouts 
of the people. I was strongly opposed to her, but I was deeply 
pained at the reception she met with on that Coronation morning. 
Whatever were her errors, she was a queen and a lady, and the groans 
and hisses she then met with pained and disg^usted me ; and, I should 
say more, those signs of disapprobation were met by \ery few counter 
cheers. In the evening I saw, in Abingdon Street, Great George 
Street, and the Birdcage Walk, many amusing incidents too long to 
tell here, but none indicative of any ill feeling on the part of the public, 
either towards the king personally' or to those who had assisted at the 
day's proceedings. 

The key to Lord Albemarle's mistake is to be found in a passage a 
page or two before that which has just been quoted, where he says, 
" Leading from Tothill Fields was a road called ' The Willow Walk,' 
which, terminating at the Half-penny Hatch, opened on to the Thames 
near to the spot on which Millbank Penitentiary now stands." Now 
the " Halfpenny Hatch" led from Tothill Fields on to Millbank, about 
a hundred feet south of the Penitentiary wall, partly through a market 
garden and partly through a walk bordered on each side by a filthy 
ditch edged with stunted willows, and it came out by the Ship public- 
house, of which the landlord was named Gulston ; and the line of the 
old Halfpenny Hatch is to this day marked by a row of miserable 
cottages, still called " Gulston's Cottages," which lead to Ponsonby 
Place, and so on to Millbank ; and as the name of mine host of the 
Ship is preserved in the cottages, so when his hostel was pulled down 
to make a carriage-way access to Vauxhall Bridge, his hostel, the 
Ship, was removed to Millbank Row where it has been moored e\-er 

3i6 TotJiill-ficlds. 

Now, tlic "Willow Walk" which (icoryc IV. drove through on July 
19, 182 1, and which probably had never before been visited by royalty, 
unless, perhaps, by the merry monarch on a visit to old Madame 
Gwynn at her house by the Neate Houses, occupied the site of 
Warwick Street, running south-west by west from " Fields," being, in 
fact, a continuation of Rochester Row, and ending at the " Monster 
Tea Gardens," which M'ere on the site of the old garden of the monastery 
(hence its name), and had on one side the remains of its ancient wall. 

The Willow Walk was wide enough for two carriages to pass. It 
was flanked on each side by a filthy ditch, the filth hidden by the 
duck-weed, and on each side of the ditch a thick row of pollard 
willows ; and about half way along on the left side, going towards 
" The Monster," stood the tumble-down hovel in which poor Slender 
Billy, whose melancholy story is well told by Lord Albemarle, provided 
dog fighting and badger baiting for the lovers of those sports. 

But, though wide enough for a carriage, it was never so used, being 
blocked at either end by a very primitive stile, namely, two larg^e 
trunks of trees laid lengthways, and supported each on three or four 
short stumps, and so overlapping each other that only foot passengers 
could pass through the narrow opening. 

The road by which the king returned to Carlton House — and if the 
state of public feeling had something to do with its selection, the 
crowded state of Parliament Street, George Street, and the Birdcage 
Walk, which were crammed with carriages, might well have had some 
influence — was through Abingdon Street to Millbank, down the Vaux- 
hall Bridge Road (the bridge was opened in 18 16), and over the 
Sewejs Bridge to the Willow Walk, thence over the wooden bridge at 
Chelsea, and, as I understood, down Belgrave Place, past the Queen's 
Riding School, as it was called, and into St. James's Park at Bucking- 
ham Gate. 

In coming down \^au\hall Bridge Road the king passed on his right 
hand the old pest-houses, known as the Five Chimneys, not " Seven 
Chimneys." The site where they stood was, till ver)' recently, known 
as Five Chimney Court, but is now changed into Douglas Gardens. 
The spot is memorable for one thing \\hich may interest Lord 
Albemarle. Coombes, the renowned champion of the Thames, whose 
monument in Brompton Cemetery attracts almost as much attention as 
that of another champion, Jackson, was born in one of the group of 
those tumble-down houses (of which I ha\e a prett>' pencil drawing) 
known as the Five Chimne)'S." 

The .spoliation of Tothill-field.s was now at hand, and 
then- surrender to the "voracious maw" of bricks and 
mortar became imminent. In April of 1825, the Vestry of 
St. John's considered a Bill for draining, lighting, and 
improving Tothill-fields, which was approved of by the? 

A viezv across the fields. 


3 1 8 Tot J all-fields. 

Vestry, and steps were ordered to be taken to have " the 
backfields" inckided in the jurisdiction of the Commissioners 
to be appointed. Accordingly "an Act for paving, drainint^, 
cleansing, lighting, watching, and improving the Streets 
and Public Places which are or shall be made upon certain 
Grounds . . . commonly called Tothill Plelds," was 
passed — the 6 Geo. IV., cap. 134. The first meeting of the 
newly formed Trust was held on the i8th July, 1825. The 
qualification of a trustee was the possession in his own right 
of an actual interest in lands, tenements, or hereditaments 
of a clear yearly income of i^ioo, or of a personal estate of 
^5,000 over and above just debts. The meetings of the 
Trust were held at the " Regent xA.rms " public house. 
The 'facile art' of spending ' other people's money' was 
quickly learnt: a rate of 2s. w^as the first made; in 1827 
it was 4.S. ; and, after twelve months' negotiation, iJ" 10,000 
was borrowed of the P^xchequer Loan Commissioners at 
five per cent. In October, 1826, £^ was paid to the 
constable " for attending the Collector of the Rates round 
the District to enforce the rates," — an item that, like murder, 
speaks ' with most miraculous organ.' 

But the new Trust had an Augean stable to clean — and 
it would not have been the first time in history if the hand 
of reform were resented by those whose very benefit was 
in solicitous regard. No streets were lighted, and Regent- 
street and Chapter-street were in so ruinous and dangerous 
a state, as to occasion presentments by the Annoyance 
Jury. The Trustees quickly .set to work ; Regent-street 
was first paved and lighted (except where done by occujjiers) 
in 1826, and carriageways and footways were first formed 
in P''y''''s^-''tfeet, Chapter-street, Carey-street, Vincent-square, 
Hide-place, Cobourg-row, and Vincent-street. Regent- 
street was repaved in 1848 at a cost of ^3,100; the footway 
was not to be less than 8ft. wide. In January of 1831, 
Mr. John Lettsom PLlliott — the doyeji of all who have taken 
an)' part in W^estminster's sclf-go\-ernment — was elected on 

The old Brideivell. 319 

the Trust. The mention of Mr. Elliott's name, who is 

happily still amongst us — 

His hair just grizzled 
xA.s in a green old age — 


brings forcibly home to us that within living memory there 
were open ditches in Cobourg-row, Causton-street, and 
Garden-street, which were this year (Nov. 1831) ordered to 
be cleared, and " the slop in Cobourg-row banked up at the 
side of the open ditch." This ditch was made a covered 
sewer in 1 838. Neither in 1836 nor in 1843, ^^'^ learn from 
the minute-books of the Trust, was any part of their district 
watered ; in the latter year complainants were told that 
they might remedy the matter by subscription among them- 
selves. In 1832, the toll bar at the Vauxhall-bridge-road 
end of Rochester-row \\'as removed, and in 1850 that at the 
junction of Chapter-street and Vauxhall-bridge-road. 

An essay which pretended, however imperfectly, to sketch 
the history of Tothill-fields, would be incomplete if all 
reference to Tothill-fields Bridewell, or its successor, Tothill- 
fields Prison, were omitted. Without allowing, therefore, 
the boundary of St. John's Parish to offer an insurmountable 
barrier, we will at once proceed to state that the old House 
of Correction, occupied a site adjoining the north side of 
the Green-coat Hospital, in Palmer's Village.* The site of 
the school is now occupied by the Army and Navy Auxiliary 
Stores, so that the Bridewell may be roughly said to have 
stood between Spencer-place and Howick-place. It is very 
probable, therefore, that the hospital and its next-door 
neighbour, the Bridewell, were originally joint parish institu- 
tions, and amongst the earliest built for carrying out the 
provisions of the Poor Law. 

The Vestry actively interested themselves for well nigh 
two hundred years in the prison accommodation in the 
parish. The older of the two establishments — the Gate 

* The Hospital stood in St. Margaret's-passage, now (1892) recently closed 
and Iniilt upon by an extension of the Stores premises. 

320 TotJiill-Jlclds. 

House* — was erected by Walter de Warfield, the cellarer 
or butler of the Abbey, in the reign of Edward III. (1327). 
It was conducted by a lessee of the Dean and Chapter as a 
speculation, the proprietor being dependent on the prisoners' 
fees, and was demolished, owing to its ruinous condition, in 
\yy6-y, a victim to the well-founded indignation of Dr. 

The inconvenience of the s)'stem of maintenance by fees, 
and the exorbitant amounts charged at times, elicited 
remonstrances from the Vestry so late as 1727. The 
Tothill-fields Bridewell was erected in i6i8t by the local 
Justices as a House of Correction for offenders within their 
jurisdiction. So long as its use was limited to local pur- 
poses, the cost of maintenance was borne by the local rates 
in the proportion of two-thirds by the parish of St. 
Margaret, and the remaining third jointly between the 
parishes of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. Clement Danes. 

Seymour (1735) thus describes the prison: "Adjoining 
to this Hospital is Bridewell ; a Place for the Correction 
of such idle and loose Livers as are taken up within this 
Liberty of Westminster, and thither sent by the Justices of 
the Peace for Correction, which is whipping, and beating of 
Hemp (a Punishment very well suited to Idleness) ; and 
are thence discharged by Order of the Justices, as they in 
their wisdom find occasion. The keeper of this Bridewell 
is Mr. Reading." 

Northbrooke (1760) thus refers to it : — " By Tothill- 
fields is a house of correction for loose and disorderly 
persons ; which, like all other prisons of the like nature, is 
called a Bridewell, after the London house of correction in 
the antient palace of that name." The prisoners were 
employed in the 17th century in the manufacture of hemp. 

* For interesting notices of this historic prison, see Walcutt's and Dtan 
Stanley's Memorials. 

t Hatton. 

'^ A famous factory for hemp!' 321 

The agreement* with the first keeper of the prison 
(Richard Betts of Westminster, hempdresser) provides for 
" a stock to bee by him emploied and laid out in hempe as 
well for himself and his servants to worke upon as for the 
Prisoners to bee thither sent or committed." 

Sir Richard Steel mentions the Bridewell, concerning 
which also the Toivn Spy, published in 1725 quaintl)' re- 
marks : "In the fields of this parish stands a famous 
factory for hemp, which is wrought with greater interest 
than ordinary, because the manufacturers enjoy the fruits of 
their own labour, a number of English gentlemen having 
here a restrain put upon their liberties." 

Early in Queen Anne's reign the Bridewell became a 
common gaol for criminals, and not alone a place of 
detention for vagrants. The Gate House prison was 
removed, as already stated, in 1777, in consequence of 
which the Bridewell was enlarged in 1778. Perhaps it was 
the result of these alterations that the Bridewell was 
much better than the generality of prisons of the time, of 
which Crabbe has given us a vivid idea in the lines 
descriptive of the then state of the common gaols — 

\vhere the very sight 
Of the warm sun is favour and not right ; 
Where all we hear or see the feelings shock, 
The oath and groan, the fetter and the lock ; 

for the philanthropic Howard described it in unqualified 
terms (1777) as being " remarkably well managed," at that 
period, and held up its enlightened and careful keeper, one 
George Smith, as a model to other Governors. On the face 
of the building over the gate was this inscription : — 

" Here is several sorts of work for the poor of this parish of St. 
Margaret's Westminster ; as also correction according to law for such 
as will beg and live idly in this City of Westminster. Anno 1655." 

* An abridgment will be found at page i6o of Local Goveniiiunt in West- 
iiiiiister, 1889. 

322 Totliill-ficlds. 

In 1826 the erection of a new prison was decided upon, 
and an Act obtained for the purpose. An adjoining site 
farther west was chosen, and eight acres of land were 
purchased for ;^ 16,000. The designs were furnished b)- 
Mr. Robert Abraham, and the building which cost about 
^200,000, was first occupied by prisoners in June, 1834; 
soon after which the old prison was pulled down, and the 
stone bearing the above description was built into the 
garden wall. This building consisted of three distinct 
prisons, constructed alike, on Bentham's ' panopticon ' plan 
in the form of a half wheel, a shamrock leaf or an ace of 
clubs, with a series of detached wings, radiating, spoke 
fashion, from a central lodge or ' argus.' It was considered 
to be one of the finest specimens of brickwork in 
the Metropolis. Seen from the outside it resembled a 
substantial fortress ; in the inside a lodge stood midway in 
each of the three sides of the spacious turfed and planted 
court-yard. The entrance porch in Francis-street was 
formed of massive granite blocks, iron gate, portcullis, &c. 
In front was the governor's house, over which was built the 
chapel, these forming a keep-like appearance. The prison 
held upwards of 800 inmates ; the only labour emplo}'ed 
was oakum-picking and the treadmill — 

" Compared with thee, 
What are the labours of that jumping sect, 
Which feeble laws conni\c at rather than respect I 
Thou dost not bump, 
Or jump, 

But walk men into virtue ; betwixt crime 
And slow repentance giving l)rcathing-time, 
And leisure to be good ; 
Instructing with discretion demireps 
How to direct their steps." 


This fine prison was bounded by Francis-street, Morpeth- 
terrace, Ashle}--place and Howick-place. It was demolished 
in 1884 ; Ambrosden-avenue, Thirleby-gardens, and the 
Parcels Tost office now in course of erection, occupy part 

Remnants of tJic prison. 323 

of the site ; and it is said that a Roman Cathoh'c Pro- 
cathedral for Westminster is to be built on the western 
part of the site. The primitive portal of the ancient Bride- 
well (it is no more than five feet ten inches high, and three 
feet wide) has been once more re-erected at the side of the 
north-east door of the ' Guildhall,' Broad Sanctuary. A 
painted inscription on a board affixed above the stone door- 
way reads — 

Taken from the Gateway of the old Tothill Fields prison West- 
minster, Anno Domini 1836. 

Another board affixed immediately under the stone lintel 
bears the inscription : — 

Gateway lock and key of the principal entrance to the old Tothill 
Fields Prison Anno 1665, 

Remo\ed 1836. Erected here 1S84. 

It remains to be seen, however, whether these memorials 
of the public spirit of Westminster nearly three centuries 
ago, will be allo\\'ed to survive the rebuilding of the Guild- 
hall now in progress. 

324 ''Haste to tltc ferry r 

Chapter XI. 

Brin^ them, I pray thee, with imngin'd speed 
. . . to the common ferry. 

Merchant of Venice. 

To Richmond, Kingston, and to Hampton Court, 
Never again shall I with finny oar 
Put from, or draw unto the faithful shore ; 
And landing here, or safely landing there, 
Make way to my beloved Westminster. 


Take, O boatman, thrice thy fee ; 

Take, I give it willingly ; 

For, invisible to thee, 

Spirits twain have crossed with me. 


The legend of St. Peter and Edric the fisherman. — Famous frosts. — 
The Ferry rates. — A Royal flight. — The Uuke of Marlborough. — 
The wooden house. — Boats and boating. — Horseferry and Lambeth 
Regatta. — Westminster and Eton. —'A famous victory.' — Byron. — A 
promise of long standing. — Lambeth bridge. — The freeing of the 
bridges.- -The water-works. 

/^~^ENTURIES before the first London-bridge wa.s built 
the Horse Ferry at We.stinin.stcr was in existence. 
It was the only ferry ever permitted on the Thames at 
London town. Its history goes back into the mists of 
tradition. Perhaps some physical condition of the river 
banks on either side in the early times, when the river was 
not as it is now, may account for its antiquity. St. Peter 
himself, if we are to believe good Father Ailred, Abbot of 
Ricvaux, crossed here when he came to Westminster to 
consecrate the new church on Thorney Island with his own 
hands. It was in the }'c;ar of our Redemption DCX, a 
dark, dreary night — so runs the legend as told by Walcott, 
Ridgway, and Dean Stanley — when the Long Ditch 
surrounding the island was swollen with exceeding great 
rain ; and the turbid Thames rolled downward rapidl}', 
hca\ing with mighty waves, black and gloomy, save where 

The legend of St. Peter mtd the fisJiervmn. 325 

the lights from the old Palace momentarily flashed upon 
the tossing waters beneath. It was on a certain Sunday 
night in the reign of King Sebert, the eve of the day fixed 
by Mellitus, first Bishop of London, for the consecration of 
the original monaster}'. Above the wail of the hurtling 
wintry storm and the rushing stream, Edericus, a poor 
fisherman, who had been in vain casting his net from the 
shore of the island, — for the night was unpromising for his 
trade, — heard the voice of some benighted traveller calling 
aloud for a skiff to ferry him across safe from the wild waste 
of Lambeth marsh. ' Some pilgrim, methinks,' quoth he, 
' that hath tarried long by the way, would fain lodge with 
the holy monks ; for the morrow, they say, shall the new 
Minster be hallowed that the good King Sebert hath 
lately built.' so Edric launched his boat, and found a 
venerable stranger, in foreign garb, who offered him large 
reward to ferry him across to the convent buildings on the 
little island. Arrived after much toil in safety at the bank, 
' Watch, Edric, this night,' said the traveller ; and still 
through the fitful gusts the fisher could discern a strange 
glorious light kindling up each glowing window, and hear 
pulses of most sweet chant, as hosts of angels with 
sweet odours and flaming candles ascended and de- 
scended from heaven in continual succession. And 
then one solemn voice alone spoke last in the high 
festival within the sacred walls. The fisherman re- 
mained in his boat, so awestruck by the sight, that when 
the mysterious visitant returned and asked for food, he was 
obliged to reply that he had caught not a single fish. Then 
the stranger revealed his name : ' I am Peter, keeper of the 
keys of heaven. When Mellitus arrives to-morrow, tell him 
what you have seen ; and .show him the token that I, St. 
Peter, have consecrated my own church of St. Peter, West- 
minster, and have anticipated the Bishop of London. For 
yourself, go out into the river ; you will catch a plentiful 
supply of fish, whereof the larger part shall be salmon. 


326 Tlic Horse-ferry. 

This I have granted on two conditions — first, that you 
nc\-cr fish again on Sundays ; secondly, that you pay a 
tithe of them to the Abbey of Westminster.' A bright 
cloud passed before him, and Edric was alone. The next 
day at noon, in solemn pomp, with priest and monk, and 
citizen and might}' captain. King Sebert and the Bishop 
entered the western gates. At the door they were met by 
Edric with the salmon in his hand, which he presented 
' from St. Peter in a gentle manner to the Bishop.' He 
pointed out the marks of ' the twelve crosses on the church, 
the walls \\'ithin and without moistened with holy water, 
the letters of the Greek alphabet written twice over dis- 
tinctly on the sand, ' the traces of the oil, and (chiefest of 
the miracles) the droppings of the angelic candles.' The 
Bishop returned from the church satisfied that the dedica- 
tion had been performed ' better and in a more saintly 
fashion than a hundred such as he could have done.' 
Henceforth, until the year 1382, eight hundred years after- 
wards,* whenever the monks of St. Peter's Abbey kept 
annual memory of that unknown visitant, a humble fisher- 
man sat high with the chiefest there- — by the Prior's side 
— and offered the tithe of his net's produce at the monastery 

In 1269 "from St. Andrew's Tyde to Candlemas, men 
and beasts passed afoote from Lambeth to Westminster ; " 
and at Christmas, 1282, after another severe frost and snow, 
men " passed over the Thames between Westminster and 
Lambeth dryshod." In 15 15, too, carriages passed over on 
the ice. But perhaps the most rigorous visitation of 
severe weather was at the time of Frost Fair, in 1683-4, 
which has quite a literature of its own. 

" I'll tell you a story as true as 'tis rare. 
Of a river turn'd into a Bartlemy Fair. 
Since old Christmas last, 

* Neal's Westminster. 

t Dean Stanley's Memorials ; Walcott's Memorials ; Ridgway's Ge>/i of 
Thorney Islatui, 

"A frost; a killing frost." 327 

There has bin such a frost, 

That the Thames has by half the whole nation bin crost. 

O scullers I I pity your fate of extreams, 

Each landsman is now become free of the Thames.' 

John Evelyn's Diary gives us an interesting and 

minute account of this most famous and be-versed of all 

Frost Fairs : — 

1683-4, Jan. 9. ... So I went from Westminster-stairs to Lambeth, 
and dined with the Archbishop. . . After dinner and discourse with 
his Grace till evening prayers, Sir George Wheeler and 1 walked over 
the ice from Lambeth-stairs to the Horse-ferry. 

Jan. 24. — The frost continuing more and more severe, the Thames 
before London was still planted with booths in formal streets, all sorts 
of trades and shops furnished, and full of commodities, even to a 
printing press, where the people and ladies took a fancy to have their 
names printed, and the day and year set down when printed on the 
Thames ; this humour took so universally, that it was estimated the 
printer gained ^5 a day, for printing a line only, at sixpence a name, 
besides what he got by ballads, &c. Coaches plied from Westminster 
to the Temple, and from several other stairs to and fro, as in the 
streets, sliding with skates, a bull-baiting, horse and coach races, 
puppet-plays and interludes, cooks, tippling, and other lewd places, so 
that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water, 
whilst it was a severe judgment on the land, the trees not only splitting 
as if lightning-struck, but men and cattle perishing in divers places, 
and the very seas so locked up with ice, that no vessels could stir out 
or come in. The fowls, fish, and birds, and all our exotic plants and 
greens, universally perishing. . . . London, by reason of the ex- 
cessive coolness of the air hindering the ascent of the smoke, was so 
filled with the fuliginous steam of the sea-coal, that hardly could one 
see across the streets, and this filling the lungs with its gross particles, 
exceedingly obstructed the breast, so as one could scarcely breathe. 
Here was no water to be had from the pipes and engines, nor could 
the brewers and divers other tradesmen work, and every moment was 
full of disastrous accidents. 

Feb. 5. — It began to thaw, but froze again. My coach crossed from 
Lambeth to the Horse-ferry at Millbank, Westminster. The booths 
were almost all taken down, but there was first a map or landscape cut 
in copper representing all the manner of the camp, and the several 
actions, sports, and pastimes thereon, in memory of so signal a frost. 

In the autumn of 1600, the ambassadors of Morocco and 
Barbury crossed the river here, on their way to Nonsuch 
Palace, to pay a visit to Good Queen Bess. 

Severe frosts occurred in the years 1709, I7i5-6j 
1739, 1767, 1788, 181 1, and 1814. In the Crowle Pennant 

W 2 


The Horsc-fcrry. 

is a coarse bill, containing within a wood-cut border of rural 
subjects, "Mr. John Heaton, printed on the Thames at 
Westminster, Jan. the /th, 1709." 

" The ice was here, the ice was there, 

The ice was all around ; 

It cracked and growled, and roared and howled 

Like noises in a swound I " 


" 181 3-14, Great frost, commenced Dec. 27 with a 
thick fog, followed by two day's heavy fall of snow. During 
nearly four weeks' frost, the wind blew almost uninter- 
ruptedly from the north and north-east, and the cold was 
intense. The river was covered with vast heaps of floating 
ice, bearing piles of snow, which (Jan. 26-29), were floated 
down, filling the space between London and Blackfriars 
Bridges ; next day the frost re-commenced, and lasted to 
Feb. 5, uniting the whole into a sheet of ice. Jan. 30, 
persons walked over it ; and Feb. i, the unemployed water- 
men commenced their ice-toll, by which many of them 
received 6£ per day. The Frost Fair now commenced ; 
The street of tents called the City-road, put forth its gay 
flags, inviting signs, and music and dancing : a sheep was 
roasted whole before sixpenny spectators, and the 'Lapland 
mutton ' sold at a shilling a slice ! Printing^ presses were 
set up, and among other records was printed the following : — 


Amidst the Arts \\hich on the Thames appear, 

To Tell the wonders of this icy year, 

Printing claims prior place, which at one view 

Erects a monument of That and You. 
Printed on the River Thames, February 4, in the 
54th year of the reign of King George III. A/uio 
Domini^ 18 14. 

One of the invitations ran thus : — 

You that walk here, and do design to tell 
Your children's children what this )-ear befell, 
Come by this print, and then it will be seen 
That such a year as this hath seldom been."* 

* Curiosities of /.oiidon. 

TJic tolls in lyoS. 329 

Mr. John Lettsom Elliott, one of the {&w survivors of 
that memorable period, delights to narrate his personal 
recollections of the river under this frost, as he saw it from 
the Westminster shore. 

Hatton, in his New Viezu of London (1708) mentions the 
" Ferry over from Westminster to Lambeth and the con- 
trary for Passengers, Horses, Coaches, &c., daily"; and 
gives the rates then paid : — 

For a man and horse ... ... ... 2 

For horse and chaze ... ... ... 10 

for a coach and 2 horses ... ... 16 

For a coach and 4 ... ... 20 

For a coach and 6 ... ... 26 

For a cart loaden ... ... ... 26 

For a cart or waggon, each ... ... 20 

The proprietors are Mr. Cole and 2 or 3 others. 

In the curious London Directory of idyj (republished 
1878 by Messrs. Chatto and Windus) we find the names of 

Mr. Clark, by the Horse Ferry, Westminster. 
Mrs Dawes, Horse Ferry, Westminster. 
Mr. Norder, the Horse Ferr)', Westminster. 

— evidence of the importance of the place even at that early 

Here, on the 9th of December, 1688, Mary of Modena, 
the ill-starred Consort of James H., having quitted Whitehall 
for the last time under the charge of Antonine, Count of 
Lauzun (a brave French nobleman, to whom alone, of all 
his courtiers, the King thought he could entrust his Queen 
and little son), stepped into the boat that was to convey 
her across the river to Lambeth. Lord Macaulay has 
graphically described the momentous event: — 

" Lauzun eagerly accepted the high trust which was offered 
to him. The arrangements for the flight were promptly 
made ; a vessel was ordered to be in readiness at Graves- 
end ; but to reach Gravesend was not The city was 
in a state of extreme agitation. No foreigner could appear 
in the streets without risk of being stopped, questioned and 
carried before a magistrate as a Jesuit in disguise. It was 

^T,0 Tlic Hofsc-fcrry, 

therefore, necessary to take the road on the south of the 
Thames. No precaution which could quiet suspicion was 
omitted. The King and Queen retired to rest as usual. 
When the palace had been some time profoundly quiet, 
James rose and called a servant who was in attendance. 
' You will find,' said the King, ' a man at the door of the 
ante-chamber ; bring him hither.' The servant obeyed, 
and Lauzun was ushered into the royal bed-chamber. ' I 
confide to you,' said James, ' my Queen and my 
son ; everything must be risked to carry them into 
France.' Lauzun, with a truly chivalrous spirit, 
returned thanks for the dangerous honour which had 
been conferred on him, and begged permission to avail 
himself of his friend Saint Victor, a gentleman of Provence, 
whose courage and faith had been often tried. The services 
of so valuable an assistant were readily accepted. Lauzun 
gave his hand to Mary. Saint Victor wrapped up in his 
warm cloak the ill-fated heir of so many kings. The party 
stole down the back-stairs and embarked in an open skiff. 
It was a miserable voyage. The night was bleak : the 
rain fell ; the wind roared ; the water was rough ; at length 
the boat reached Lambeth, and the fugitives landed near an 
inn, where a coach and horses were in waiting. Some time 
elapsed before the horses could be harnessed. Mary, afraid 
that her face might be known, would not enter the house 
She remained with her child, cowering for shelter from the 
storm, under the tower of Lambeth Church, and distracted 
by terror whenever the ostler approached her with his 
lantern. Two of her women attended her, one who gave 
suck to the Prince, and one whose office was to rock the 
cradle ; but they could be of little use to their mistress, for 
both were foreigners who could hardly speak the English 
language, and shuddered at the rigour of the English 
climate. The only consolatory circumstance was that the 
little boy was well, and uttered not a single cry. At length 
the coach was ready. Saint Victor followed it on horse- 

Macau lay s account of the fligJit of James II. 331 

back. The fugitives reached Gravesend safely, and em- 
barked in the yacht which waited for them. . . . The 
yacht proceeded down the river with a fair wind ; and 
Saint Victor, having .seen her under sail, spurred back with 
the joyful news to Whitehall." 

M. de Lauzun himself tells us, in his account of the 
Queen's escape, that, in order " to prevent suspicion, I had 
accustomed the boatmen to row me across the river of a 
night, under pretence of a shooting expedition, taking cold 
provisions and a rifle with me to give it a b^'tter colour." 
The next day the caitiff king determined to follow. 

" The Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London were sum- 
moned to attend the King. He exhorted them to perform 
their duties vigorously, and owned that he had thought it 
expedient to send his wife and child out of the country, but 
assured them that he would himself remain at his post. 
While he uttered this unkingly and unmanly falsehood, 
his fixed purpose was to depart before daybreak. Already 
he had entrusted his most valuable moveables to the care of 
several foreign Ambassadors. His most important papers 
had been deposited with the Tuscan minister. But before 
his flight there was still something to be done. The tyrant 
pleased himself with the thought that he might avenge 
himself on a people who had been impatient of his 
despotism, by inflicting on them at parting all the evils of 
anarchy. He ordered the Great Seal and the writs for the 
new Parliament to be brought to his apartment. The 
writs he threw into the fire. Some which had been already 
sent out he annulled by an instrument drawn up in legal 
form. To Faversham he wrote a letter which could be 
understood only as a command to disband the army. Still, 
however, he concealed, even from his chief ministers, his 
intention of absconding. Just before he retired he directed 
Jeffreys to be in the closet early on the morrow, and while 
stepping into bed, whispered to Mulgrave that the news 
from Hungerford was highly satisfactory. Everybody 

332 TIic Horse -ferry. 

withdrew except the Duke of Northumberland. This 
young man, a natural son of Charles the Second by the 
Duchess of Cleveland, commanded a troop of Life Guards, 
and was a Lord of the Bedchamber. It seems to have been 
then the custom of the court that, in the Queen's absence, 
a Lord of the Bedchamber should sleep on a pallet in the 
King's room ; and it was Northumberland's turn to perform 
this duty. 

" At three in the morning of Tuesday, the eleventh of 
December, James rose, took the Great Seal in his hand, laid 
hiscommandson Northumberland not to open the door of the 
bedchamber till the usual hour, and disappeared through a 
secret passage. . . Sir Edward Hales was in attendance 
with a hackney coach. James was conveyed to Millbank, 
where he crossed the Thames in a small wherry. i\s he 
passed Lambeth he flung the Great Seal into the midst of 
the stream, where, after many months, it was accidently 
caught by a fishing net and dragged up. 

" At Vauxhall he landed. A carriage and horses had 
been stationed there for him ; and he immediately took 
the road towards Sheerness, where a hoy belonging to the 
Custom House had been ordered to await his arrival. 

" Northumberland strictly obeyed the injunction which had 
been laid on him, and did not open the door of the royal 
apartment till it was broad day. The antechamber was 
full of courtiers who came to make their morning bow, and 
with Lords who had been summoned to Council. The 
news of James's flight passed in an instant from the 
galleries to the streets ; and the whole capital was in 

Old and New London makes mention of a curious print 
of the time representing the boat in which the Queen 
effected her escape as in no little danger, and the two gentle- 
men as assisting the rowers, who are labouring against wind 
and tide. "The Queen herself is seated by the steersman, 
enveloped in a large cloak, with a hood drawn over her 

A lucky ferryman. 333 

head : her attitude is expressive of melancholy ; and she 
appears most anxious to conceal the little prince, who is 
asleep on her bosom, partially shrouded among the ample 
folds of her drapery. The other two females betray alarm 
The engraving is rudely executed and printed on coarse 
paper ; but the design is not without merit, being bold and 
original in its conception and full of expression. It was 
probably intended as an appeal to the sympathies of the 
humbler classes on behalf of the royal fugitives." 

Very early one morning, in the days when Queen Anne 
' reigned, but did not rule,' while the watermen were dream- 
ing of fares when they should have been by the water-side, 
His Grace the Duke of Marlborough came up and desired 
to cross with his hounds. By good fortune, one Wharton 
chanced to be at hand ; and the Duke rewarded him by 
obtaining a grant of the " Ferry-house " for him. Walcott, 
who relates the incident, states that the owner at the time 
of writing his Memorials (1849) was a descendant of the 
lucky ferryman. 

On the opening of Westminster Bridge, the ferry, says 
Walcott, " was suppressed." No doubt the traffic became 
sadly diminished, but, as we learn from a work styled 
Select Views of London and its Environs^' published in 
1805, the ferry was still in use in the early part of the 
present century. Indeed, says Old and New London, it 
may be said to have continued more or less as a ferry down 
to the building of Lambeth Bridge in 1862. The Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, whose property the ferry was, and who 
leased it out at a yearly rent of .;^20, received on the 
opening of Westminster bridge ;^3,ooo compensation, which 
was funded in his name. The last person of importance 
who crossed at the Horse-ferry is generally supposed to 
have been the mother of George III., Princess Augusta of 
Saxe-Gotha, on 27th April, 1736, on her way to be married 
to Frederick, Prince of Wales. A wooden house, Walcott 
tells us, was built here for a small guard which was posted 

TJic Horse-ferry. 

Obstructions by boatbuilders. 33^ 

during the troublous times of " the Usurpation." An 

engraving of the Horse-ferry about 1800, in Old and New 

London, shows this ancient wooden structure, which was in 

existence so recently as 1850, for Dickens makes mentions 

of it in David Copperfield, " There was, and is when I 

write, at the end of that low-lying street, a dilapidated little 

wooden building, probably an obsolete old ferry-house. Its 

position is just at that point where the street, and 

the road begins to lie between a row of houses and the 


The Horse Ferry and Millbank were at one time a 

great rendezvous for the pastime of boating, of which the 

scholars of Westminster School were especially fond. A 

plate by Mr. T. H. Shepherd in Jones's Vieivs in London*, 

(1829) shows pleasure boats and boat-houses scattered 

along the bank and beneath the willows, where any who 

would might have hired a boat for a quiet pull on the then 

pleasant water. In fact the boatbuilders here were, judging 

from the following " notice," the cause of serious obstruction 

on the highway flanking the Thames : — 

Great complaints having been made by the Inhabitants of Millbank 
and streets adjacent of a Nuisance or Annoyance occasioned by your 
placing" Boats or other Vessels on the Public footway on Millbank and 
suffering the same to remain there a considerable time as also of your 
working on such Boats or Vessels while on the public footway afore- 
said which occasions great inconvenience and danger to the foot- 
passengers passing that way ; I am ordered by the Church Wardens 
and Vestry of the Parish of S'- John the Evang^t Westm'' to give you 
Notice, and I do hereby give you Notice to remove or cause to be re- 
moved all such Boats or other Vessels from off the public footway on 
Millbank and to discontinue such Nuisances or Annoyances in future. 
Dated the 9'h day of July, 1812. 


- Vestry Clerk. 
John Sullivan, 

WILLL.M HATTON, ^ boatbuilders, Millbank. 
Joseph Royal, ' 

Jonathan Sawyer, 

* Metropolitan Impj-ovemcnts, or London in the Nineteenth Century, 
published by Jones & Co., 1827-9. 

^T,6 TJic Horse-ferry. 

The first Regatta ever witnessed in England, Walcott 
tells us * was rowed from Westminster Bridge to Ranelagh- 
gardens, on June 20th, 1775. It seems strange to read of 
the " Horseferry and Vauxhall Regatta " which used to 
take place annually here within living memory. So 
recently as in 1840 — we read in Colburn's Calendar 
of Aiiinseiiients — "the arrangements made by the 
parochial authorities and others of the parish of St. John's, 
in getting up this regatta, are deserving of every encomium. 
The prizes, which bring into competition the watermen of 
Vauxhall and Westminster Horseferry, are really worth 
contending for — viz. : two excellent wherries, and various 
sums of money. A steamer is engaged for the accommoda- 
tion of the subscribers." In The Nezus, of the 8th August, 
18 1 2, the following interesting item is met with : — 

" Vauxhall. On Wednesday, the Prize Wherry given by the Pro- 
prietor of these Gardens, was rowed for on the Thames Ijy se\en 
competitors. The race was attended by hundreds of boats filled with 
parties of ladies and gentlemen, the gaiety of whose appearance, con- 
trasted with the ding)' hue of coal headers, sweeps^ and their belles, who 
filled other boats and barges, had the most ludicrous effect. After a 
hard and sinew)' contest the prize was obtained by a man of the name 
of Job Jones, to whom Mr. Simson, the manager of the Gardens, de- 
li\ercd the boat with an appropriate speech. In the evening this de- 
lightful place was crowded to excess with beauty and fashion." 

With the scholars of Westminster School aquatics were, 
in point of fact, a matter of compulsion : at the commence- 
ment of the rowing season at the Ides of March, every new 
boy was ordered on the water, nolens volens. The earliest 
public aquatic performance of which there is any record 
took place in 181 8, when a Westminster six-oared boat 
beat a six, manned by gentlemen of the Temple, in a race 
from Johnson's Dock to Westminster Bridge, by half a 
length. In 1825, a Westminster eight-oar (TJie Challenge) 
rowed from the Horse-ferry to Eton and back again — the 
whole distance being about 86 miles— in twenty-one hours, 
delays in locks and stoppages for refreshment occupying 
* Appendix to " Me/iiarials,'^ p. 339. 

Aquatic sports. 337 

seven. Ihc}- started from the Ferry on the 23rd April, at 
3.4 a.m., and went through Windsor-bridge at two o'clock 
in the afternoon. Having seen Eton, they returned to 
Staines (where they had lunched going down), dined, and 
arrived at the Horse-ferry again about mid-night. For 
" full and complete accounts " of the annual contests 
between Westminster and Eton, the reader must turn to 
the lively pages of BelPs Life. The first match was rowed on 
July 27, 1829, and the last on July 28, 1864. Needless to 
say, many a celebrated oarsman received his education at 
Westminster School. The stretch of water off Millbank, 
from Westminster to the Red House (a hostelry standing 
just where the L. B. and S. C. Railway bridge now crosses 
the Thames),or the Old Swan, by Battersea Bridge, being the 
usual destination. " To vary the monotony of always rowing 
merely for rowings'sake," — relates the author of Westminster 
School, Past and Present — " scratch matches were occa- 
sionally got up. These races were sometimes pair-oar and 
sometimes four-oar; the course, either from Westminster- 
bridge to Battersea-bridge, or from Vauxhall-bridge to Batter- 
sea-bridge. . . . But all the rowing had one common aim, 
and that was to render the crew of our first eight the most 
effective possible." Mr. F. H. Forshall very fully describes 
the race of 1845, ^'^<^ ^he trials and privations of 
training for it. The course was from Barker's-rails to 
Putney-bridge, longer by a mile than that rowed by the 
Universities in their annual contest. The pink oars of 
Westminster won that year, the Eton boat being so far 
astern that it could not easily be distinguished, amidst the 
press and crowd of craft on the river. The excitement in 
Westminster was intense : — 

Size and weight, so much talked of in these days as the University 
comes round, had been powerless to avert a crushing defeat. The race 
was won by one minute and five seconds, or about sixty boats' lengths. 
Then down the river, amidst fresh bursts of cheering from shore and 
boats, quickly and lighth' we went along till we reached the landing- 
place at the Horse P'erry. Up College Street we streamed with a 

338 The Horse-ferry. 

crowd of nav\ies and bargees as an escort, who made a tremendous 
noise, in view of the sixpences to be obtained, and the pots of porter 
to be drunk at our expense. Presently the stroke of the victorious 
Eight was hoisted on the shoulders of several big boys and carried 
round and round Dean's Yard, amidst deafening cheers which became 
hoarser and hoarser. Indeed, to some of the boys might be applied 
Virgil's description of the ghosts, who vainly tried to raise their war- 
cry in the presence of ^Eneas, but only produced the faintest squeak : 
" Inceptus clamor frustratur hiantes." Their voices were entirely 
gone. Talk of triumphs up the Capitoline Hill I What Westminster 
boy on that night would have exchanged places with the greatest hero 
of ancient or modern times .'' True but nine contributed to the victory, 
but we were one in heart, and the whole body rejoiced with its 

On August 1 1, 1807, Lord Byron''' succeeded in swimming 
from Lambeth over against the ferry through Westminster 
and Blackfriars-bridges. 

The first boat propelled by steam power made its 
appearance on the Thames, and passed the ferry in 18 16. 

The ferry was the property of the Archbishop of 
Canterbury from time immemorial. It was in order to 
avoid the many accidents which were continually happening, 
by reason of the multitude of carriages and horses 
passing and repassing by the ferry, at all times and 
.seasons, that, in 1734, several public-spirited gentlemen 
and noblemen, with the countenance of the Archbishop, 
rai.sed among them.selves the necessary funds to meet 
the expenses of plans and surveys, and presented a petition 
to the House of Commons in February, 1735, "to have a 
bridge erected at the Horse Ferry, or at such other place as 
the House should think fit." In 1736 and 1737 Acts were 
passed for building a bridge " at the Horse Ferry, or at any 
other place in the parish of St. Margaret or of St. John, 
Westminster." The money was raised partly by lotteries 
and partly by Parliamentary grants, and Westminster- 
bridge — the famous bridge of M. Labelye — was built at a 
site fixed, after great contention, at or near the old Wool- 

* The poet's remains, it may be mentioned, lay in state at 25, Gt. George- 
street (now the Institution of Civil Engineers) on the 9th and loth June, 1824. 

Proposed bridge at the site of the fej-ry. 339 

The effort to obtain the construction of the bridge on 
the site of the ferry having failed, " the Vestrymen, free- 
holders and principal inhabitants" of the parish endeavoured 
to obtain a widening and improvement of the approaches 
to the new bridge. The facts recited in their petition, which 
was adopted on i8th May, 1738, are interesting: — 

To the Right Honourable ajtd Honourable the Lords 
and others Commissioners for buitding a Bridge at 

The Humble Petition of the Principal Freeholders and Inhabitants 
of the Parish of St. John the Evangelist. 

Sheweth — 

That your petitioners labour under very unhappy Circum- 
stances with Regard to their Situation having no Communication 
with the other parts of the City and Liberty of Westminster but 
by such narrow and inconvenient Ways and Passages as render 
all Access to them very Difficult deprive them of the Advantages 
they might otherwise enjoy of Trade and Commerce and are as 
they conceive the Occasion that so many of their houses are unin- 

That your petitioners once flatter'd themselves with the hopes 
of having" a Bridge at the Horse Ferry which would in a great 
Measure have remedied this inconvenience. But 

That as the Wisdom of Parliament has now determined 
otherwise they alone remain excluded from all benefit that can 
accrue from the intended Bridge and have no prospect left of ever 
recovering themselves but by a more open Communication from 
the said Bridge into their Parish. This your Petitioners humbly 
conceive may be done in the most effectual Manner and at the 
least Expense by opening a broad Way from Old Pallace Yard to 
College Street at the place where Lindsey House and the Old 
Houses leading to the said Pallace on both sides of the Way now 
stand which likewise would be of great Use in parliament Time to 
His Majesty and the Members of both Houses who are now 
greatly streightened for Want of Room for their Coaches. 

Your petitioners therefore most humbly hope that 
this Honourable Commission will take their Case 
into Consideration and grant them such Relief as 
in their Wisdom they shall judge most convenient. 
And your Petitioners, &c. 

The above petition is worth quoting in extenso inasmuch 
as it shows indisputably that Sir Samuel Brown's scheme, 
which was first propounded in 1830, was simply a revival 

340 The Horsc-fcrry. 

of wliat had been mooted a centur}- previously. Moreover, 
the petition furnishes the reasons which eventually led up 
to the abolition of Lindsey or Dirt)'-lane, and the formation 
of the present Abinodon-street. 

Charles Knight in his Cyclopivdia of London (1833) makes 
reference, in speaking of the Horse-ferry, to a "proposal for 
another metropolitan bridge, to extend from the Horse- 
ferry to Lambeth stairs, beside the gateway of Lambeth 
Palace. It was to be called the Royal Clarence Bridge, 
and a Bill was brought into Parliament. But there the 
matter seems to have stopped, and is likely to remain ; so 
we must content ourselves, if we desire to cross the Thames 
here, with the same mode of conveyance which prevailed 
so far back as the seventh century." He goes on to 
say, " Those who may have occasion to cross the river by a 
wherry from the stairs at the foot of the fine old gateway 
of Lambeth Palace to Millbank on the opposite side, are 
landed on a shelving slope directly opposite the end of 
Market-street, and a little southward of the church of St. 
John the Evangelist. At the top of the slope stands a 
little wooden house ; that is the old ferry house. Directly 
opposite, .some hundred yards or so from Lambeth Palace, 
is an opening to an obscure street, still known as Ferry- 
street ; and one, if not both, of the houses, which then 
formed considerable inns, still stand there, where travellers 
were accustomed to wait for the return of the boat, or for 
better weather than prevailed at the moment of their 
arrival, or to stay all night and sleep there if the day were 
far spent, and them.selves somewhat timid. How primitive 
all this seems ! One can hardly be satisfied that we are 
really speaking of the Thames at Westminster, and a time 
so little removed." 

It is singular to trace how the scheme for the oft-promised 
bridge at this spot hung fire, until the hope so long deferred 
must have made the local Vestry almost despair of ever seeing 
it realised. In 1830 the Vestry considered an application 

A cheap bridge. _ 341 

from the promoters for the building of a new bridge, but that 
body submitted "no facts to warrant the Vestry to express 
any opinion." The project took some definite and tangible 
shape in 1844, when Sir Samuel Brown,* the first constructor 
of bridges on the principle of suspension, attended upon 
the Vestry with plans and models of a proposed suspension 
bridge, " to be erected on three equal arches extending 
from Market-street, Westminster, to Church-street, Lam- 
beth," which were cordially approved of by the Vestry. 
Sir S. Brown died in 1852, and we hear nothing further of 
the matter till 1 861, when a company composed of a small 
body of noblemen and gentlemen was formed to carry out 
the long-promised bridge at their own expense, trusting to 
its usefulness as shown by the tolls, to reimburse them for 
their outlay. For once in the history of bridge-building 
across the Thames, no opposition was offered to the project, 
a phenomenon to be accounted for by the fact that whereas 
the other bridges built across the Thames had proved 
to be financial failures, by reason of their initial costli- 
ness, Mr. Peter William Barlow, the engineer, undertook 
that this new structure should be completed from shore 
to shore for ;^30,ooo. This estimate for a foot and 
carriage traffic bridge was regarded by the engineering 
world at the time as almost ridiculous. The cheapest 
bridge ever built across the river had not cost less than ^3 
per superficial foot — the majority had cost nearly £\o — but 
here was an offer to build one at less than a pound a foot ! 
Nevertheless, the bridge was built at a cost (including 
land, &c.) of less than ^^40,000. 

The new bridge was opened on Monday afternoon, loth 
November, 1862, at 3 o'clock, and was made free to the 
public for the first week by the generosity of the company 

* Capt. R.N. and civil engineer 1776-1852; experiments made by him 
eventually led to the introduction of chain cables in the navy ; 18 17, patented 
his invention of chain bridges ; constructed chain pier at Brighton, 1823, 
Hammersmith-bridge, &c. 


342 The Horse-ferry. 

as a sort of commemoration of the birth-day of the Prince 
of Wales. The tolls were ^^d. for each person, and 2d. for 
each horse. This bridge has a total length of 1,040 ft, and 
a length between the abutments on the shore at either side 
of 828 ft. Its extreme width is 32 ft, which is divided into 

20 ft. for roadway and 6 ft. for each of the footpaths, and 
its total height above high water mark is 21 ft The rise 
or curve of the structure is i in 22 ft. on the bridge itself, 
and I in 20 ft on the approaches. For such a steep rise 
the bridge itself should have given a greater headway than 

21 ft; but this would have involved an outlay in raising 
the approaches on either side, far beyond the moderate es- 
timate. The suspension ropes are taken over four pairs of 
towers, two at either end resting on abutments of solid 
masonry, and two upon circular iron piers, 12 ft in diameter, 
sunk 1 8 ft. below the river-bed. Over these towers the ropes 
— which were made by Newall'& Co. on the works of the 
bridsfe itself of the best charcoal-iron wire — are carried, 
sustaining the bridge beneath in three spans of 280 ft. in 
length each. The anchorage in which all are finally secured 
is, on the Lambeth shore, where the ground is good, formed 
by massive iron holdfasts built into a sold masonry of concrete 
20 ft below the surface ; and on the Westminster side, where 
the ground was little better than loose peat, the anchorage is 
made by a series of 12 square cast-iron caissons, each weigh- 
ing seven tons, sunk into the gravel, and filled with concrete, 
so as to form one immense compact bed of iron and con- 
crete 20ft. below the surface. The platform of the bridge 
is hung from the cables by rigid lattice bars, and the 
novelty of the bridge consists in placing under it on each 
side a longitudinal tubular iron girder, with a cross girder 
between, so as to reduce to a minimum the upward, 
downward, and lateral movement. The footways on 
each side are carried on cantilevers projecting from 
beneath the roadway. Everything being made to do some 
duty in this singular bridge, the parapets of the footpaths 

" What, 7teed the bridge imicli broader ? " 343 

are formed of wrought iron lattice work, which in itself 
gives rigidity to the otherwise Hght paths. The roadway 
was paved with ' blocks of wood,' and the paving of the 
footways was formed of Portland stone from old West- 
minster-bridge, cut into neat thin slabs. The prevailing 
idea throughout the construction of the bridge was economy, 
so that to call it the ugliest and least convenient across the 
Thames is no disparagement of the architect. The 
company let the tolls for the first three years at 
the rate of ten per cent, upon the capital. The Times 
of the nth November, 1862, commenting on the opening 
of the bridge, made the following apposite, if sanguine 
remarks : " Before Christmas next it is likely to be as 
much a recognised route for through communication 
as any of the bridges over the Thames, and, like all realised 
improvements, people will wonder how it was that they did 
so long without it. It is certainly not for the want of 
suggestions, practical or otherwise, that a bridge, or even 
bridges, have not been built here more than a century ago. 
Probably no part of the river has been more favoured by 
projectors than this locality, and not a few of the old maps 
of London are still to be found marked with the route of 
an intended bridge stretching from Lambeth Palace to the 
line of the Horseferry-road, Westminster. It most likely 
was the difficulties and delays of the old horse ferry at this 
spot that has promoted the idea which for years and years 
gone by was an architectural myth, only laid at rest by the 
completion of the ponderous structure at Westminster, now 
so beautifully replaced by the graceful lines and noble 
proportions of Mr. Page's new bridge. But when old 
Westminster fell into that chronic dilapidation and decay 
which made it at once an eye-sore and a danger, the notion of 
Lambeth-bridge again arose, all the fresher, apparently, 
from the long oblivion to which preceding schemes had 
been consigned." 

There would seem to be little donht pri^na facie, that the 

X 3 

344 '^^^^ Hoj'se-ferry. 

bridge is practically that of Sir Samuel Brown, adapted and 
modified by the engineer who actually carried out the 
scheme. Mr. Peter William Barlow was the eldest son of 
Professor Barlow, the mathematician. In 1858 he inves- 
tigated in great detail the construction of bridges of large 
span, especially with regard to stiffening the roadways of 
suspension bridges, and his valuable deductions were subse- 
quently confirmed by Professor Rankine. In pursuance of 
these studies Mr. Barlow went to Niagara, in order to 
examine personally the great railway and road bridge 
erected there by Roebling, and on his return a company 
was formed for constructing a bridge across the Thames at 
Lambeth, of which he was appointed engineer. In this 
work he introduced diagonal struts in connection with the 
vertical ties by which the roadway is suspended, whereby 
a degree of stiffness was obtained nearly equal to that 
of girders of like span, and sufficient to enable large gas 
mains to be laid across the bridge without any leakage. 
During its construction, the process of sinking, or forcing 
into the clay, the cast-iron cylinders which form the piers, 
suggested to the engineer the idea that such cylinders 
could with facility be driven horizontally, and that tunnels 
could be made under rivers by this means in suitable soils. 
The Tower Subway was constructed in demonstration of 
the idea, which has since led to the formation of many 
similar works. Mr. Barlow died 19th May, 1885. At the 
time of his death he was the oldest member of the Institu- 
tion of Civil Engineers.* 

Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges were acquired by the 
late Metropolitan "Board of Works in 1879 under the pro- 
visions of the Metropolis Toll Bridges Act, 1877. For 
Lambeth bridge the owners claimed i^ 100,000, and the 
amount awarded by the arbitrator was ;^36,049 ; for Vaux- 
hall bridge, the owners of which claimed ^^"395, 228, the 
arbitrator's award was ^255,230. From the last report of 

* Proceedings^ Vol. 81, p. 321, 

" Welcome^ princes all." 345 

the late Metropolitan Board of Works we learn that the 
arrangements for the conveyance of these bridges, together 
with the Chelsea bridge, the Albert Suspension bridge, and 
Battersea bridge, were all concluded in May, 1879, where- 
upon " it was thought that a suitable day for abolishing 
tolls and opening the bridges free to the public would be 
the anniversary of her Majesty's birthday on the 24th of 
that month. It was also thought that it would be well to 
signalise by some public ceremony an event of so much 
interest to many of the inhabitants of London. Their Royal 
Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales were accord- 
ingly asked to give the sanction of their presence to the 
proceedings, and to make the public declaration that the 
bridges were thenceforth dedicated to the free use of the 
people. To this their Royal Highnesses graciously con- 
sented. The inhabitants and the local authorities of the 
districts within whose limits the bridges were situated, did 
all in their power, by decorating the thoroughfares, and by 
assembling in large numbers along the line of the proces- 
sion, to give the Prince and Princess — who were accompanied 
by their two sons, by the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, 
and by the Crown Prince of Denmark — a hearty reception, 
and to show the pleasure which they felt at the kindness 
and interest manifested by their Royal Highnesses in taking 
part in the proceedings." The Times, of May 26, 1879, 
relates that the last toll was taken at 2.30 p.m., when the 
traffic over Lambeth bridge was suspended. The royal 
party (who had come from Pall Mall down Abingdon- 
street and Millbank-street, receiving a most warm welcome) 
crossed the bridge, at the southern end of which the address 
of the Metropolitan Board to their Royal Highnesses was 
duly read and responded to, when the Prince formally 
declared the bridge " open free for ever." The procession 
then continued its way along the Albert-embankment to 
the southern end of Vauxhall-bridge, where the Trustees 
handed the keys of the gates to Sir J. McGarel Hogg, and 

346 TJic Horse-ferry. 

the bridge was declared free for ever. The procession, cross- 
ing the bridge, passed along Grosvenor-road towards the 
Chelsea Suspension-bridge on its mission of emancipation — 

" Which when the people 
Had the full view of, such a noise arose 
As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest 
As loud, and to as many tunes." 

King Henry VHI. 

The Metropolitan Board of Works in their last year of 
office (1887) found it necessary to strengthen the abutments 
and anchorages of the structure, in consequence of the 
increased traffic, and placed iron gates at each end, so that 
it might be closed in case of anything occurring which 
would be likely to cause a dangerous overcrowding upon 
it. Two men were also appointed by the Board so that the 
bridge might be watched continuously both day and night. 
The London County Council now (1892) contemplate its 
reconstruction. Its extreme narrowness, its bad and steep 
approaches, and its weakness — only a limited number of 
vehicles are allowed to cross at a walking pace at one time 
— make it wholly inadequate for present-day requirements, 
and it may be safely anticipated that in a very few years 
time the present bridge will be replaced by a structure 
more worthy in every way of the historic site and the public 

The author of Londiniiini Rediviviim (1807), tells us 
that there were " water-works near the Horse-ferry, noiv the 
site of Westminster Bridge,^ for the supply of that part of 
Westminster." Hatton, the antic^uary, gives (1708) some 
interesting particulars of these water-works : — 

Mill Bank Water : this is raised and laid into houses in the parish 
of St. Margarets Westminster from the Thames. The Water House 
is situated on the East side of Mill Bank, for which the proprietors, who 
are in number 5, had a patent granted them by K. Charles II. about 
the year 1673. Their stock and income is divided into 8 shares. The 

* Londinhun Redivivuin, by J. Malcolm, p. 170, published 1807. Mr. 
Malcolm evidently thought that the Horse Ferry was to have been the 
chosen site for " Westminster-bridge." 

The Water-works. ^a^j 

officers they have are a Manager, Collector, two horse-keepers, a turn- 
cock, a pavior, and a plumber. Rates at least are los. per Annum, 
but commonly 20s. and for Brewers and extraordinary occasions, more 
than so many pounds. 

The right was sold in 1726 for fifteen years to the 

Company of Chelsea Water-works for £^400 per annum. 

Strype's and Seymour's Surveys both mention this 

' Waterhouse.' The Chelsea Water Works Company were 

established in 1722, and originally drew their supplies from 

the ponds in St. James's and Hyde-parks. In 1842 the 

Company applied separate works to the supply of the 

ornamental waters in Hyde-park, St. James's-park, and 

Buckingham-palace-gardens, and for watering the streets 

and roads in their district, thereby relieving the serious 

draughts made upon their filtered water for those purposes, 

and at the same time maintaining a constant circulation in 

the ornamental waters which would otherwise have been 

unhealthy stagnant pools. The Company's reservoirs were 

afterwards converted into the Grosvenor Canal, with its 

wharves and basin. 

348 The old Abbey ivater-mill. 

Chapter XII. 
M I L L B A N K. 


" Not many weeks ago it was not so, 

But Pleasures had their passage to and fro, 
Which way soever from our ( lates I went, 
I lately did behold with much content, 
The Fields bestrew'd with people all about ; 
Some paceing homeward and some passing out ; 
Some bj' the Bancks of Thame their pleasure taking, 
Some Sulli-bibs among the milk-maids making ; 
With musique some upon the waters rowing ; 
Some to the adjoining Hamlets going." 

Britaitis RcjitciiihraHcer. 

' Hath he bon:e himself penitently in prison V How seems he to be touched ? " 

Measure for Measure.' 

The old Water Mill. — The Mill Bank. — Tidal Inundations. — Dangers 
of Millbank. — An aristocratic neighbourhood. — Peterborough House. 
A 'Joe Miller.' — The Dutch picturesqueness of Millbank. — Annual 
procession of coaches. — The distilleries. — First formation of wharves, 
and roadway opposite prison. — Dickens' description of Millbank. — 
The Penitentiary. — Jeremy Bentham's scheme. — The Prison's his- 
tory. — The Chartist rising. — Ponsonby-terrace. — Vauxhall Wharf. — 
Vauxhall-gardens. — Vauxhall Bridge. — The ' Neat Houses.' — Puss 
in a Parachute. 

17 VERY antiquary who has touched upon the matter is 
apparently agreed that the name of Mill Bank is 
derived from the old Abbey water-mill, built by the Abbot 
Nicholas Littlington (1362- 1386) at the end of the present 
Great College-street, and turned by the stream which flowed 
down College-street by the Infirmary garden wall — 'the 
dead wall,' as it w^as called — eastward into the Thames. 
The Abbot's Mill stood on the farther bank of the brook, 
called the Mill Ditch, which, says Dean Stanley, was crossed 

A high-wrougJit flood. 349 

by a bridge, still existing, though deep beneath the present 
pavement, at the east end of College-street* The Abbots 
used to take boat on this stream to go to the Thames.-|- 
One of the Benedictine rules required that there should 
always be a mill attached to the Abbey. Mr. Timbs states 
that the Mill was standing in 1644, and is mentioned in an 
entry in the parish books of that year, when eleven shillings 
were paid to John Redwood " for charges upon sundrie 
indictments touching the bridge at the water-mill."J 

This " Water-mill," which may be safely regarded as 
the real sponsor of the locality, is marked on Norden's plan, 
taken from his survey in 1573. 

A " bank " may have been thrown up here as an attempt 
to prevent the inundation of the Fields behind : Walcott 
states that in the reign of Edward I. Tothill-fields were 
deeply under water. Stovve tells us that in 1242 the 
Thames so overflowed the banks " that in the great hall at 
Westminster men took their horses, because the water ran 
over all," and that a few years previously (1236), "in the 
great palace of Westminster men did row with wherries 
in the midst of the hall, being forced to ride to their 
chambers." Coming down to more recent times, we read 
in the Gentleman s Magazine, that on February 2, 1791 : — 

There was the highest flood-tide, on the river Thames, that has 
ever been remembered. 

Above Westminster. Bridge it overflowed the banks of the river on 
both sides, particuhirly at Millbank, when it came into the Horse-ferry 
Road, and carried away several logs of timber, &c. In Palace-yard it 
was near two feet deep ; it also ran into Westminster Hall, so as to 
prevent people passing for two hours. Boats came through the pas- 
sage of Old Palace-yard from the Thames, and rowed up to West- 
minster-hall gate. The inhabitants in Millbank-street were obliged to 
pass to and from their houses in boats. 

The ground floor of Lord Belgrave's house, § and the garden were 
flooded two feet deep : as were almost all the gardens and nursery- 
grounds round Chelsea and Lambeth. 

* Bardwell's Westminster Ii)iprovements, p. 8. 

t Dean Stanley's Memorials, p. 338. 

+ London and Westminster, Vol. L, p. 149. § See page 354 post. 

350 Millbank. 

The locality was inundated by a similar overflow on 31st 
December, 1804, by which time the floor of Westminster 
Hall had been raised upon arches to prevent damage. Such 
overflows continued, but in a lesser degree, at the times of 
the 'spring tides,' until five-and-twenty years ago, since 
which time the works carried out under the Thames (Floods 
Prevention) Act, obtained by the late Metropolitan Board 
of Works, have contributed to the great relief of the district 
from the inconvenience. 

An etching by J. T. Smith, in 1797, shows the existence 
of the embankment as an earthwork protected by huge 
planks laid roughly lengthwise next the river. Willows are 
growing slantwise over the embankment ; a sailing boat is 
just putting off from the shore ; and a party in a 
small boat are seen pulling over to the opposite side {Grace 
collectiojt of prints, Brit. Mus., Portf XIV. 2). The first 
sight of the picture recalls — 

" Once more the distant shout 
The measured pulse of racing oars 
Among the Willows." 


Pennant informs us that, "in the time of Queen Elizabeth 

the shore correspondent to Lambeth was a mere marshy 

tract." The thoroughfare along Millbank — if it can with 

justice be dignified by such a term — was, in common with 

other highways in the olden time, often in a most miserable 

condition. Towards the end of Elizabeth's reign the people 

of Lambeth complained to the Secretary of State of the 

common nuisance arising out of the broken down " banck 

that leadeth from Westminster to the horse ferrie " ; but 

the parish endeavoured to fix the liability to repair upon 

the proprietors of the ferry. From the Vestry minute 

book, commencing with the year 1591, the following 

selections are made as illustrative of the manner in 

which the business relating thereto was transacted : — 

To my loving friendes the balie and Burgessie of the cittie of 
After my hastie comendation I send you here inclosed a peticion 
lately presented unto me by the inhabitantes of Lambeth whereby 

Responsibility disclaimed. 351 

you may perceive what it is they complaine of, for my owne parte 
1 will impose nothing upon you in particular not knowing how 
farre you are tyed to satisfie theim in their demandes Onlye in 
generall I have thought fitt to advise you to consider amongst 
yr selves what is to be doone on y pte, which I wish forthwith to 
be performed. The rather for that it concernes the reperation of 
a comon Nusaunce whereof every man doth participate that have 
occasion to mak usse of the ferrie and I have heard it heartofore 
much complained of, though I am ignorant wheather it be y part 
to see reformation. And soe I bid you farewell fro the Court att 
Greenwitch this 20th May 1602. 

yr Loving friend 


The petition to which the foregoing letter to the Vestry 
relates and the reply are entered upon the minutes as 
follows : — 

To the right Hon'^'e Sir Rob. Cecill Knight, principall Seacretaire 
to the Queen's most excellent maiestie. 

The Humble peticion of Abraham Merrick and others the 
Inhabitaunces of Lambeth. 
Whereas about ij yeares past a peticion was delivered to y'' house 
toutching the reperation of the banck that leadeth fro West- 
minster to the horse ferrie boate, which by y Honors good 
meanes was then somewhat mended, but yet in such slender 
manner as that the same is still in winter time in some places 
unpassable. And moreover the said banck is so exceedingly 
annoyed by reason ef the milditch there adjoining and the spring 
tides that if y"^ Honor be not a meanes for redressee in this 
behaulfe, noe subject by any meanes can have passage that way. 
And for that the said banck is in the parish of Westminster, 
yo"" Supp's most Humblye beseeche yo^ Honor to cause the Sur- 
veior for the highways of Wesm^e aforesaid to whom it apper- 
taineth that without delay they do repaire and amend the said 
bancke soe sufficiently- that without danger or hindrance her 
maiesties subjects may have free passage. Wherein yo"- honor 
shall perform a very work and bind y^ Supp'^ to pray to God for 
your perpetuall happines. 

Fro. the Baihfif & Burgesses, their answer to the Right 

Honorable Sir Robert Cecill, His letter sent unto them 

the 20th May, 1602. 

Right Ho'^le Sr., humble duties remembered. Whereas Abraham 

Merricke and others the inhabitants of Lambeth, have been 

peticioners to yo"" Honor to cause the Surveiours for the high 

waies of Westminster to repair, & amend the banck that leadeth 

from Westminster to the horse ferrie boate. And whereas, yo"" honor 

hath directed your letter to us to consider amongste o"-- selves 

352 Millbank. 

what is to be done on c parts, we liave accordingly mett togeather 
& find the Inhabitance of Westminster have not beene chardged 
herewith heretofore, but they which have the profitt of the ferrie 
which Ijy due proofe we are redy to show have heretofore usualhe 
repaired the said bancke. And have had hcense of the late Dean 
of Westminster by the mediation of frendes to dig gravill in 
Tuttell for the repaire thereof they both paieing for the digging & 
carriadge thereof. And have at sundrie times brought furres & 
other stuff from Lambeth to repaire the same. The farmors of 
the ferrie have heretofore maid like suit unto yo'' Ho^e deceased 
father who hath taken notice of their uniust request, & being 
satisfied therein gave them answer accordingly. Even soe with 
remembrance of o"" dutye to yo"" Honor, We humbley take our 
leave, Westminster, 31st May, 1602. 

No improvement having been made during twelve months 

following this representation, the parishioners of Lambeth 

appealed to the Privy Council through the instrumentality 

of the Archbishop of Canterbury : — 

To the reverend father in God the lo. Archbishop of Caunter- 
berrie primat & metropolitan of all England & one of her 
maiesties most Ho^ile Privie Counsell. 
Whereas we the Inhabitantes of the parish of St. Margretts in 
Westminster have been chardged & required by Mr Ueane of Wes- 
minster by the mediation of yC Grace to amend and repaire the 
banck that leadeth from Westminster to the horse ferrie the same 
banke beinge very fowle & in great decay May it please yo"" Grace 
to be advertised that the said bancke hath not beene att any time 
repaired by the Inhabitantes of Westminster but hath allways since 
it was first maid a way or passage to the ferrie been repaired and 
amended by those who have had the profitt of the said ferrie as we 
can sufficiently prove by the testimonie of divers witnesses the 
same being noe ancient highway but was taken out of the close next 
adioying for the advantage of the ferrie and notwithstanding the 
ferriemen at severall times by their humble peticion long since 
maid to the right Ho^'e the lo. Burghley late lo. Treasurer of 
England & since that time to the right Hol^'<= the lo. Cecill have 
much importuned their lordships to cause the surveiors of high 
waves in Westminster to repair the said bancke Yet it was soe 
plainly and evidently proved that the said Inhabitantes weare not 
to be charged with the repairing of the said bancke as their Lord- 
ships weare therewith verie fully satisfied And now the said 
bancke is soe ill kept and maintained by the ferriemen as in the 
winter time it is not passable and therefore it doth proceed that 
the said ferriemen doth continew his chalinge & accusation 
against Westminster not for any hope or expectation he hath that 
the parishoners of Westminster can or ought or will intermedia 

" See the end of this controversy." 353 

in the repairing thereof but that he may have a shadow or colour 
to excuse himself of his deserved blame which otherwise he can 
not excuse but by his uniust and wrongful imputinge the fault to 
others And if the said ferriemen or any others doe make any 
question or doubt of the truth of the premisses we the said 
parishioners are redie to make our iust defence by a tryall at the 
comon law whensoever we shall be drawne thereunto Written 
and subscribed by us the Inhabitantes of Westminster aforesaid 
i6'h day of May, 1603 

William Godard, Christopher Ricrofte Ed Doubleday, Morris 

Pickering, Marmaduke Servant, Cutberd Linde, Tho 

Skinner, Rob. Goulding, Willia. Man, Tho Tickendge 

The like controversie being betweene chelsey and battersea for the 

ferrie there it was tried in the chequer chamber & there adiudged 

that the ferrieman having the profitt on both sides should main- 

taine the ferrieway on both sides which in chelsey having the 

profitt maintaineth both the wayes. 

Forty-five years later the liability to repair the Mill- 
bank was still in question, in consequence of which a con- 
viction was obtained against the parish : — • 

May 12., 164"/. — Ordered that . . the Churchwardens shall paie 
to Nicholas Wisby twentie shillings for an amerciament for 
not mending the Bridge at the Mill and that . . Mr. Arnold 
shall have twentie shillings aid to him wh hee paid 
to Thos. Vincent for serving the place of Surveyor of the 
highwayes the last year in the stead of mr Ffuller who refused 
the place. 

Indictments were also laid on account of the neglected 

state of the approaches and other highways, and the opinion 

of counsel was taken : — 

12th August., 1^54- Whereas the parish has bene heretofore 
presented for not I'epaireing the High wayes . . . and 
Whereas there are severall presentments upon this parish in 
Generall for not repaireing the Mill bridge wch is considered 
ought to be repaired & maintained by some pticuler Inhabitante 
adioyneing to the said Bridge It is ordered that the Church- 
wardens gett the state of the case truely sett downe and there- 
upon if they be soe advised by some Learned Counsell in the 
Lawe that they goe to a tryall for the same with all convenient 

The Vestry shortly afterwards raised money for repairing 

the highways, and proved, by obtaining the imposition of 

fines, a desire to carry out their obligations somewhat more 




Millbank was not only well nigh impassable ; it was full 
of dangers to the belated pedestrian. The bank and the 
off-lying Tothill-fields were a favourite skulking-place for 
the foot-pad, the highwayman, and the promiscuous cut- 
throat generally, where they might hide under the shadows 
of trees and bushes. Even in broad daylight there was no 
immunity from attack. The Vestry of St. John's regularly 
employed for many years a man called the Sunday watch- 
man or constable, who was paid 5/- per week to conduct 
the people in safety to and from Church — 

" Like one that on a lonesome road 
Doth walk in fear and dread. 
And having once turned round, walks on 
And turns no more his head." 


Mr. James Malcolm, in his London Redhnvum (i 802-5), 
tells us that Lord Belgrave had a neat brick mansion within 
a pretty garden on the banks of the Thames at Millbank. 
" Hence northward a row of respectable houses front the 
river lined with rubbish, boats, and old vessels ; whence to 
the House of Commons are many timber and coal yards." 

In the rate book for 1782 (St. John's parish), the first 
entry in respect of Millbank is that of Sir John Delaval's 
property, which was assessed at i^ioo, but was written off 
' empty " for that year. Here also lived Captain (after- 
wards Admiral) Ommanney ; his house was assessed at 

Millbank-street, Wallcott tells us, was in 1745 called the 
High-street at Millbank. Strype's Stoiu (1720), and Sey- 
mour's Survey (1735) — the latter being mostly a mere copy 
of the former — thus describe this ancient thoroughfare : — 

"The Mill-Bank, a very long place, which beginneth by Lindsey 
House, or rather by the Old Palace Yard, and runneth up into Peter- 
borough House which is the farthest house. The part from against 
College Street unto the Horseferry hath a good row of buildings on 
the east side next to the Thames, which is most taken up with large 
woodmongers' yards and brewhouses ; and here is a waterhouse which 
heweth the end of the town ; the north side is but ordinary, except 
one or two houses by the end of College Street, and the part beyond 

Peterborough-house. 355 

the Horseferry hath a very good row of houses much inhabited by 
gentry, by reason of the pleasant situation and prospect of the Thames. 
The Earl of Peterborough's house hath a large court-yard before it, 
and a fine garden behind it, but its situation is but bleak in the winter, 
and not over healthful, as being so near the low meadows on the south 
and west parts." 

Londina Illustrata (Vol. II.), published in 18 19, contains 
an excellent engraving of Peterborough House, afterwards 
Grosvenor House, on Millbank, and gives moreover the 
following interesting account of it : — 

" This mansion considered for nearly two centuries as the last 
habitable house in Wesf- was erected by John Mordaunt, first Earl 
of Peterborough, who was advanced to that dignity by letters patent, 
March 9, 1628, 3, Cha. i. He was brought up (as were most of his 
family) in the Romish religion, but was converted by a disputation at 
his house between the learned Bishop Usher and a Papist ; the latter 
confessing himself silenced by the just hand of God on him, for 
presuming, without leave of his superiors, to dispute with the Bishop 
who was then only Dr. Usher. 

The Mordaunt family were previous to this time bigoted Catholics 
and Henry, Lord Mordaunt, in the fourth of King James I., being 
suspected to have knowledge of the gunpowder treason plot, was, with 
Edward, Lord Stourton, and the Earl of Northumberland, committed 
to the Tower, where after some imprisonment, he and Lord Stourton 
being fined in the Star Chamber, June 3, 1606, were released ; but the 
Earl of Northumberland continued a prisoner for 15 years after. This 
Lord Mordaunt had to wife Margaret, daughter of Henry, Lord 
Compton, by whom he had issue John, who succeeded him, and 
became the founder of this house. 

This House continued the property of the Peterborough family, 
until the demise of Charles Mordaunt, the 3rd Earl, which took place 
at Lisbon, Oct. 25, 1735. *[^t then passed by purchase to Alexander 
Davis of Ebury, in the County of Middlesex, esquire, whose sole 
daughter and heiress, Mary, marrying Sir Thomas Grosvenor, Bart., 
in 1676, became niother of the late Sir Robert Grosvenor, who inherited 
this house, and all the rest of his vast property about London, in right 
of his said mother.] It has been erroneously stated, that this house 
was erected by Alexander Davis, in 1660 ; but Mr. Pennant informs us 
that here, in his boyish days, he had often experienced the hospitality 
of Sir Robert Grosvenor, and that this house came by purchase of one 
of his family (doubtless his maternal grandfather) from the Mordaunts 
Earls of Peterborough. And in Hollar's four sheet view of London 

* It may be mentioned here for what it is worth that the copy of Londina 
Illustrata in the British Museum is marked in pencil at the place shown by 
square brackets above, as an " error," 

356 Millbank. 

and Westminster, published in 1666, this edifice is clearly made out, 
with the name of Peterborough House under it ; a distinction not very 
likely to be given, had the Earl of Peterborough only been tenant to 
the Davis family, and not the ostensible proprietor. himself 

" It appears by no means a modern practise for our nobility and 
gentry occasionally to let out their town as well as country houses. In 
Hatton's new view of London, printed in the year 1708, Peterborough 
House, Millbank, is noticed then as in the possession of Mr. Bull, a 
merchant : at this period, the Earl of Peterborough was servings his 
country in Spain, and in the years 17 10 and 171 1 was employed on an 
embassy to Turin, and other Italian courts ; these engagements ren- 
dered an expensive establishment at home to him quite unnecessary. 

" The present Earl Grosvenor's grandfather resided in this house 
till 1755 ; and it was afterwards inhabited by Lord Delaval, and Mr. 
Symmons. His lordship then had it in his own occupation, and 
occasionally lived in it for nearly 20 years, until 1809, when it was 
taken down to facilitate the great improvements that have since been 
made in this neighbourhood. 

"This part of the Estate of Earl Grosvenor, containing about seven 
acres, is bounded on the east by the river Thames south by the estate 
late the Marquis of Salisbury's, now in the hands of Government, west 
by the Estate of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, called Tothill 
Fields, now let on building leases, and north by the Horseferry road 
leading from the fields to the ferry to Lambeth. It is now (1822) 
leased to Mr. John Johnson, who is considerably improving this 
quarter of the Metropolis, by forming new streets, etc." 

Thomas Pennant in his Some Account of London, (1793) 
speaks of Millbank not as " a very long place" — as Strype 
and Seymour called it — but rather as a single house or 
mansion. He says: " Millbank, the last dwelling in West- 
minster, is a large house which took its name from a mill 
which once occupied its site." As Mr. Harland Oxley has 
pointed out, this can scarcely be correct so far as the exact 
site is concerned, for the mill was situated, as we have 
already seen, almost at the commencement of the Bank, 
near Great College-street. However, to continue Pennant's 
account — 

" Here, in my boyish days, I often experienced the hospitality of the 
late Sir Robert Grosvenor, its worthy owner, who enjoyed it, by the 
purchase by one of his family from the Mordaunts, Earls of Peter- 
borough. All the rest of his vast property about London devolved on 
him in right of his mother, Mary, daughter and heiress of Alexander 
Davies, of Ebury, in the County of Middlesex. I find, in the plan of 
London by Hollar, a mansion on this spot under the name of Peter- 

A famous mansion. 357 

borough House. It probably was built by the first Earl of Peterborough. 
It was inhabited by his successors, and retained its name till the time of 
the death of that great but irregular genius, Charles, Earl of Peter- 
borough, in 1735.'' 

It would appear, however, from an entry in the St. John's 
Vestry minutes that Pennant was not mistaken in calHng 
the ancient mansion of the Grosvenors " Millbank." It was 
also known as " Millbank House." On the 28th February, 
181 2, a Committee appointed to visit the parish boundaries 
at Millbank reported an alteration of the public footway 
in front of the site where Lord Grosvenor's house " called 
Millbank House formerly stood" — apparently made under 
Sec. 51 of the 49 Geo. III., cap. 142, the Vauxhall Bridge 
Act. This is the first mention of the bridge in the Vestry 
minutes. According to the Act the footpath should not 
have been closed until " each branch road from the intended 
bridge through the forecourt of Earl Grosvenor's house 
should have been completed." The heiress, Mary Davies, 
lies in St. Margaret's Churchyard ; her tomb is now the 
only one to be seen there, close to the north porch of the 
church. Dod's Peerage informs us that the Right Hon. 
Lord Ebury (Robert Grosvenor, first baron, so created in 
1857) was born at Millbank House, Westminster, on April 
24th, 1 80 1. 

It was whilst living here, in 1735, that Charles, the third 
Earl of Peterborough, was privately married to his second 
wife, Mrs. Anastasia Robinson, the celebrated contralto 
vocalist. He died the same year, after which the house was 
rebuilt by the Grosvenor family, upon the property coming 
into their possession in the manner explained above. The 
Earl of Wilton, brother of the late Marquess, and uncle of 
the present Duke of Westminster, was also born here. 
This famous mansion is assured of an undying remembrance, 
for has not the immortal Joe Miller — who flourished by 
sufference of the gods from A.D. 1684 to 1738— made it or 
its occupants the subject of a joke in his fcst Book under 


358 Millbank. 

the title of "high living."? Here it is. "Peterborough 
House, which is the very last in London, one way, being 
rebuilt, a gentleman asked another 'who lived in it'? His 
friend told him 'Sir Robert Grosvenor.' 'I don't know,' said 
the first, ' what estate Sir Robert has, but he ought to have 
a very good one ; for nobody lives beyond him in the whole 

town.' " 

As Congreve, the dramatist and poet (1670- 1729) was 
once being rowed in a wherry up the Thames at Millbank, 
the waterman remarked that, owing to its bad foundation, 
Peterborough House had sunk a story. " No friend," said 
he, " I rather believe it is a story raised." 

At the time when the Grosvenors were content to live at 
Millbank, the locality — Rns in urbe, nrbs in rurc — with its 
goodly houses and fine gardens, must have been very 
pleasant. It became a fashionable resort on Sundays for 
the neighbouring gentry, and here, beneath the shady 
willows that fringed the water's edge, many a disciple of 
Isaac Walton plied his line, or — 

" Beneath some green turf, oft his angle laid, 
His sport suspending to admire the charms " 

of the opposite Surrey shore, with its undulating uplands 
stretching beyond the venerable palace of Lambeth and 
the gardens of Vauxhall. Mr. J. T. Smith's Antiquities of 
Westminster contains several excellent prints presenting 
views of the bank as rural as those we now see at Molesey 
or Twickenham ; and Old and N civ London (Vol. IV.) has 
a wood-cut of 'Millbank about 1800,' showing the gently 
sloping bank, and cattle which have strayed from the 
neighbouring fields to allay their thirst at the river's brink, 
where pollard oaks, willows — 

". . . and ashes cool, 
The lowly banks o'erspread 
And view, deep bending in the pool, 
Their shadows' watery bed." 

The chequered shade of MiUbank''s willows. 359 

The same author in his entertaining Book for a Rainy 
Day* writing under date 1827, makes the following 
remarks anent the changes for the worst which were then 
coming over the rural quietude of Millbank — 

"The Londoners, but more particularly the inhabitants of West- 
minster, who had been for years accustomed to recreate within the 
chequered shade of Millbank's willows, have been by degrees deprived 
of that pleasure, as there are now very few trees remaining, and those 
so scanty of foliage, by being nearly stript of their bark, that the public 
are no longer induced to tread their once sweetly variegated banks. 
Here on many a summer's evening Gainsborough, accompanied by his 
friend Collins, t amused himself by sketching docks and nettles, which 
afforded the Rembrandt and Cuyp-like effects to the fore-grounds of his 
rich and glowing landscapes. 

Millbank, which originally extended with its pollarded willows from 
Belgrave House to the White Lead Mills at the corner of the lane 
leading to "Jenny's Whim," afforded similar subjects to those selected 
by four of the old rural painters ; for instance, the boat builders' sheds 
on the bank, with their men at work on the shore, might have been 
chosen by Everdingen ; the wooden steps from the bank, the floating 
timber, and old men in their boats, with the Vauxhall and Battersea 
windmills, by Van Goyen ; the various colours of the tiles of the cart- 
sheds, entwined by the autumnal tinged vines, backed with the most 
prolific. orchards, with the women gathering the garden produce for the 
ensuing day's market, would have pleased Ruysdael ; and the basket 
maker's overhanging smoking hut, with a woman in her white cap and 
sunburnt petticoat, dipping her pail for water, might have been 
represented by the pencil of Dekker." 

Room must be found for yet another quotation from 
A Book for a Rainy Day, whose author so dearly loved 
Westminster and its antiquities : — • 

"Pull away, my hearty" (for I was again in a boat). "To Westminster, 
Master ? — Ay, to Westminster." 

Being now in view of the extensive yards which for ages have been 
occupied by stone and marble merchants, "Ay" said I, " if these 
wharfs could speak, they, no doubt, like the Fly, would boast of their 
noble works. Was it not from our blocks that Roubiliac carved his 
figures of Newton, the pride of Cambridge ; and that of Eloquence, in 
Westminster Abbey ; Bacon's figure of Mars, now in Lord Yarborough's 
possession ; Rossi's Celadon and Amelia, and Flaxman's mighty figure 
of Satan, in the Earl of Egremont's gallery at Petworth ; as well as 

*A Book for a Rainy Day : or Recollections of the events of the years lydd- 
^<?Jj; byj. T. Smith.p. 243. 

t See page 278 ante for an account of this local artist. 

Y 3 


Vi'ezu from Millbank. 

Mail-coaches. 36 1 

three-fourths of Nollekens's numerous busts, which according to 
whisperings, have only been equalled by Chantrey.? And then has not 
our Carrara been conveyed to the studios of Westmacott and Bayley ? 

Appreciative Mr. Hare, referring in his Walks in London 
to the Dutch picturesqueness of Millbank, says in a foot- 
note : " Artists should find their way to the banks amongst 
the boats and warehouses on the Westminster shore 
opposite Lambeth and further still." 

There is a series of sketches of this locality in the Grace 
collection of prints preserved in the British Museum, drawn 
by W. Capon between 1799 and 1806. The fields lying off 
Millbank are sketched from several points of view, in three 
of which a windmill is shown as existing there at the time. 

In Millbank-street there were, besides wharves and stone 
yards, and brewhouses, numerous large stables in the 
occupation of carriers and coach proprietors. Perhaps the 
leading light of the latter in his day was Mr. John Vidler, 
the Government contractor, who lived in a house which had 
been built in the "middle of the Millbank " by Sir John 
Grosse, Bart., the brother of the brewer. To this house, 
Mr. Walcott informs us, the mail-coaches used to be driven 
in annual procession from Lombard-street upon the King's 

" Go, call a coach, and let a coach be called. 
And let the man who calleth be the caller ; 
And in his calling let him nothing call. 
But Coach ! Coach ! Coach ! O for a coach, ye gods ! " 


At noon the cavalcade of newly-varnished coaches and 
well-groomed horses, decked out with new harness and 
ribbons and streamers, used to set out in charge of guards 
and coachmen decorated with showy nosegays, and post- 
boys in scarlet jackets on horseback in advance, reaching 
the General Post Office at six in the evening. The display 
annually attracted quite a gathering of sightseers to witness 
the start to the lively strains of coach horns. The King's 
birthday, in 1790, was the occasion of the first of these 

^52 Alillbank. 

processions, when sixteen coaches set out with plated 

harness and hammercloths of scarlet and gold. The displays 

were continued annually, with varying gaiety of decoration 

and trimming, until within the recollection of many persons 

still living who would object to be called old ; but now— 

" No more those coaches shall they see 
Come trundUng from the yard, 
Nor hear the horn blow cheerily 
By brandy-bibbing- guard." 

Millbank was ever famous — as we have seen from Strype 

and others — for its brewhouses and distilleries. A distillery 

belonging to a Mr. Hodge stood close by the site of the 

Prison at the time of its being built. Messrs. Seager Evans' 

establishment was transferred hither from that part of Pim- 

lico now called Brewer-street, early in the present century. 

In The News of September i, 1806, we read — 

" This morning about six a fire broke out at the distillery of Messrs. 
Smith, Cook, and Tate, on Millbank,* which burnt for near two hours, 
destroying the steam engine, estimated at 5,000/. ... A great 
quantity of corn was destroyed ; two barges, laden with coals, in the 
dock caught fire, and were burning for a long time. The storehouse 
was saved, and also the vats containing"* spirits. A detachment of the 
Queen's Royal Volunteers, and six of the St. Margaret's and St. 
John's corps attended. The premises were insured for 77,000/., and 
the loss is estimated at 60,000/" 

The rural aspect of Millbank first began to disappear 
early in the second decade of the present century, after the 
demolition of Peterborough-house in 1809, and when the 
projects for building of Vauxhall-bridge and the Penitentiary 
were in the air. In February of 181 1 the Paving Commis- 
sioners appointed a Committee to inquire into the right of 
Earl Grosvenor to let out the ground of Millbank-row^ 
next the river, for wharves, and the Committee reported 
next month having seen several of the leases and under 
leases, and taken the opinion of their solicitor thereon, who 
found that the " places had always been so leased and used." 

* Although described as of Millbank, this should probably have been 
" Thames Bank." 


Projections on the foreshore. 363 

The wall round the garden of Peterborough-house, with 
an outer footpath along the river side, was not removed till 
a year or two after the demolition of the mansion, for in 
181 1 his lordship's attention was called to the ruinous and 
dangerous state of the wall, which had been partially 
washed away by the tide, and to the serious accidents 
which frequently happened in consequence. His lordship 
in reply merely called upon his tenants to repair under 
their covenants. In September of the same year it was 
reported that Earl Grosvenor had agreed with the City of 
London as Conservators to extend further into the river 
the private interests in Millbank-row. Other accidents 
having occurred the Commissioners erected a post and rail 
fence next the river "on the public ground under their juris- 
diction," and when the owners of leases claimed a right to 
gates, they were refused. In July, 181 2, a notice board 
was ordered to be put up warning obstructors (principally 
in loading and unloading waggons) that they would be 
prosecuted ; and that the local authority were determined 
on preserving the public rights is testified by the fact 
that a man was shortly afterwards prosecuted for taking 
down part of the railing and obstructing the highway. On 
the 28th February, 18 12, a Committee appointed to view 
the parish boundaries at Millbank reported that " some 
alteration of the line of public footway appears now to be 
making on the banks of the Thames on the south side 
of the forecourt of Earl Grosvenor's late house," and 
" that Messrs. Johnson and Brice are about to make a wharf 
or landing place and to obstruct the public footway leading 
from Millbank-row southwards to Vauxhall-bridge." This 
was Grosvenor-wharf (Messrs. Mowlem's) so that the 
site of Peterborough-house can be very exactly fixed. 
Messrs. Johnson and Brice were informed that the Vestry 
could not consent to such obstructions, but with what 
result the sequel has shown. The power of propert}' 
proved too strong. Again in February, 181 5, complaint 

364 Millbank. 

was made of interference with the footway in Millbank- 
row (the same having become impassable, and in many 
places dangerous) owing to persons employed on the 
Penitentiary having cut up the way with their carts and 
barrows in unloading the barges. In July, 1817, Mr. 
Johnson, pavior, informed the Commissioners that the Con- 
servators of the Thames had granted him permission to 
carry out his wharf in Millbank-row, and that Earl 
Grosvenor had also consented. At last the tribulations of 
the Commissioners were to some extent diminished when 
it was announced in December of 181 8 that the " new road 
from Millbank-row to the Penitentiary and Vauxhall-bridge 
was ready to be opened shortly." In August, 18 19, the 
footway was first paved, the carriageway pitched, and kerb 
placed next the river fence. A few months previously 
(March, 18 19) the Commissioners of Woods and Forests 
complained that a crane had been erected which, when 
turned over the street, overhung it by sixteen feet. The 
Commissioners reluctantly replied that they had no 
power to stop it ; and things would appear to have gone 
on in this style for nearly twenty years, when the Marquess 
of Westminster informed a deputation who waited upon 
him in 1837, that he could not interfere, inasmuch as his 
tenants had undoubted rights under their leases to load 
and unload, and that the Commissioners must deal with 
obstructions under their own statutory powers. 

The road fronting Millbank prison did not exist prior to 
1 817, when an Act, 57 Geo. III., cap. 54, was passed to 
enable Her Majesty's Commissioners of Woods and Forests 
" to make and maintain a road from Millbank-row, West- 
minster, to the Penitentiary." The Act recited that no 
carriage way had yet been set out for passing and repassing 
between the said Penitentiary and the City of Westminster, 
and that it was necessary and expedient for opening a 
communication with the said Penitentiary that a free and 
public carriage way should be made and maintained from 

Sketched by Dickens. 365 

the south end of Millbank-row, over a piece or parcel 
of land belonghig to the Earl Grosvenor, and then in the 
possession of Thomas Sargent, and by him used as a wharf, 
and to be continued along the bank of the River Thames 
in the line of the old footpath, to the lodge or gate of the 
said Penitentiary. The land was to be acquired by funds 
applied from the Land Revenue, and power was given to 
extend the new road, which, according to the Act, was not 
to exceed 30 ft. in width, in the direction of Vauxhall 

Chaucer's Wife of Bath has been outdone by a good 
lady of Westminster. According to the General Advertiser 
there died at her house near Millbank, on August 27, 1752, 
a Mrs. Tolderoy, " an ancient widow lady, who had buried 
six husbands in twenty-two years ! " 

" Behold the joys of matrimonial life, 

And hear with rev'rence an experienced wife ; 

To dear-bought wisdom give the credit due. 

And think for once a woman tells you true. 

In all these trials I have borne a part, 

I was myself the scourge that caused the smart ; 

For, since fifteen, in triumph have I led 

Five captive husbands from the church to bed. 

Now heav'n, on all my husbands gone, bestow 
Pleasures above for tortures felt below : 
That rest they wished for, grant them in the grave. 
And bless those souls my conduct helped to save !" 

Pope s Translation. 

Dickens, who knew Westminster — and more particularly 
its purlieus and out-of-the-way corners — so intimately, has 
left us in David Copperfieldd. vivid pen-picture of Millbank 
as it was at the period of his favourite novel — 

The neighbourhood was a dreary one at that time ; as oppressive, 
sad, and solitary by night as any about London. There were neither 
wharves nor houses on the melancholy waste of road near the great 
blank Prison. A sluggish ditch deposited its mud at the prison walls. 
Coarse grass and rank weeds straggled over all the marshy land in 
'the vicinity. In one part, carcases of houses, inauspiciously begun 
and never finished, rotted away. In another, the ground was cum- 
bered with rusty iron monsters of steam-boilers, wheels, cranks, 

^66 Millbank. 

furnaces, paddles, anchors, diving-bells, windmill-sails," and I know 
not what strange objects, accumulated by some speculator, and 
grovelling in the dust, underneath which — having sunk into the soil 
of their own weight in wet weather — they had the appearance of vainly" 
trying to hide themselves. The clash and glare of sundry fiery Works 
upon the river side arose by night to disturb everything except the 
heavy and unbroken smoke that poured out of their chimneys. Slimy 
gaps and causeways winding among old wooden piles, with a sickly 
substance clinging to the latter Hke green hair, and the rags of last 
year's handbills, offering rewards for drowned men, fluttering above 
high-water mark, led down through the ooze and slush to the ebb 
tide. There was a story that one of the pits dug for the dead in the 
time of the Great Plague was hereabout, and a blighting influence 
seemed to have proceeded from it over the whole place. Or else it 
looked as if it had gradually decomposed into that nightmare condi- 
tion out of the overflowings of the polluted stream. 

It is now time that something was said about the 
gloomy fortress-like structure that forms so conspicuous a 
feature on the river shore at Millbank ; for seeing that it 
occupies some 23 acres (more than a tenth) of the parish, a 
brief account of it may be considered admissible. During the 
last seventy years or more the name of Millbank' has had 
for a troublesome element of society — the criminal classes — 
but one association, now soon to be dissolved. Her 
Majesty's Government have finally (1892,) determined upon 
the demolition of ' the English Bastille ' — as it has been 
stigmatised from the general resemblance of its conical- 
shaped towers to those of the Bastille du Temple at Paris, 
as well as from the former severity of its .system — and the 
maps of London will no longer present the curious cart- 
wheel plan of the prison, like a huge asterisk, to show where 
Westminster lay. Though Millbank prison has only been 
standing some eighty years, it has had a history so 
remarkable and so varied that it is only right it should have 
a historian of its own ; and that historian it has found in 
Major Griffiths, whose exhaustive and entertaining 
Memorials of Millbank (1884) preclude anything more 
than a general summary being attempted in these pages. 
' The very name " of Millbank, justly oKserves Major 
Griffiths, " contains in itself almost an epitome of our whole 

^^Coine, lefs away to prison.^' '^6'j 

penal legislation. With it one intimately associates the 
names of men like Howard and Jeremy Bentham ; an 
architect of eminence, Sir Robert Smirke, superintended its 
erection ; while statesmen and high dignitaries, dukes, 
bishops, and members of parliament, were to be found upon 
its committee of management, exercising a control that was 
far from nominal or perfunctory, not disdaining a close 
consideration of the minutest details, and coming into 
intimate personal communion with the criminal inmates, 
whom, by praise or admonition, they sought to reward or 
reprove. Millbank has been doomed to demolition again 
and again ; its site, valued now at near a quarter of a 
million, has been promised for other edifices — now for a 
barracks, now for aristocratic squares. Ten years ago a new 
prison, intended to replace it, was commenced in the 
western suburbs of London. The new prison is completed 
and occupied, yet Millbank still survives. Only within the 
last few months the penitentiary has passed into a new 
phase of its long and chequered existence. The females' 
prison in Tothill-fields has been closed, under the power 
of the Prisons Act of 1877, and Millbank has taken its 
place. It is now the sole metropolitan prison for females, 
just as once it was the sole reformatory for promising 
criminals, the first receptacle for military prisoners, the 
great depot for convicts en route to the Antipodes." The 
Penitentiary at Millbank indisputably owed its origin 
to the labours and agitations of the great philanthropist, 
John Howard. When the Declaration of American Inde- 
pendence in 1776 closed those colonies against our criminal 
outcasts, the legislature discovered that " transportation to 
His Majesty's colonies and plantations in America was 
found to be attended by various inconveniences, particularly 
, by depriving the kingdom of many subjects whose labour 
might be useful to the community" (16 Geo. HI., cap. 43, 
1777) and' an Act for the establishment of Penitentiary 
Houses (19 Geo. HI., cap. 74, 1779-80) in substitution for 

368 Millbank. 

transportation, was produced by the joint labours of Sir 
William Blackstone, Mr. Eden (afterwards Lord Auckland) 
and Mr. Howard. " We have here " says Major Griffiths 
" the first foreshadowing of Millbank Penitentiary, though 
the first stone of that prison was not to be laid for another 
five and twenty years." In the preamble to this Act the 
opinion was expressed that " if many offenders convicted 
of crimes for which transportation has been usually inflicted, 
were ordered to solitary confinement, accompanied by well 
regulated labour and religious instruction, it might be the 
means, under Providence, not only of deterring others from 
the commission of the like crimes, but also of reforming 
the individuals and inuring them to habits of industry." 
Fifteen years were occupied, after the passing of this Act, 
in attempts to find a suitable site for a national peni- 
tentiary, and the project might have fallen to the ground 
altogether but for the intervention of the extraordinary 
' utilitarian philosopher,' Jeremy Bentham. This remark- 
able writer had published, in 1791, his scheme for a 
" Panopticon, or Inspection House," the main idea of which 
was a continual but unobserved supervision of the prisoners, 
by which "a sentiment of a sort of invisible omnipresence" 
was to pervade the whole prison, with solitude or limited 
seclusion (as opposed to the former evils of gaol association) 
diversity of employment, pecuniary interest in work done, 
and, above all, a continuous and unremitting attempt by 
religious and moral suasion, by praise and admonition, by 
instruction and kind treatment, to bring about a reformation 
in the prisoners' characters. Next year Mr. Bentham 
followed the matter up by a formal proposal to erect a 
prison on the plan advocated, he to receive so much per 
prisoner, with fines to be paid by him in cases of death, or 
escape, or failure of the reformatory efficacy of his manage- 
ment. Bentham proposed to throw the place open as a 
sort of public lounge, thereby affording a continual super- 
intendence " by a promiscuous assemblage of unknown, 

Bentham's Panopticon. 369 

and therefore unpaid, ungarbled, and incorruptible in- 
spectors, or, in a word, by the public at large," who might 
hold conversation with the prisoners by means of tubes 
reaching from each cell to the general centre. " The 
banquet offered to curiosity," he actually told the Commons' 
Committee, would be " attractive in proportion to the 
variety, and, if such a term may be here endured, to the 
brilliancy of the scene." This extraordinary scheme — a 
pretty instance of the practical lucubrations of " dreamers 
of dreams " who are so much in favour nowadays — 
was taken up with enthusiasm by Mr. Pitt, Lord 
Dundas (Home Secretary), and others of the Cabinet 
of the day, who struggled in vain, however, against 
a certain secret influence, which was none other 
than that of King George III., who obstinately set 
his face against Bentham and his scheme, because the 
author of the Panopticon " was such a Radical." The king 
refused to append his signature for the purchase of land at 
Battcrsea-rise, which might have been obtained for half the 
price eventually paid for the Tothill-fields site ; but finally 
an Act was passed in 1794, to enable a contract to be 
entered into between the Treasury and Mr. Bentham, 
whereby the latter undertook to run up a prison to accom- 
modate a thousand convicts, for ^19,000. By virtue of the 
Act above mentioned i^2,ooo was advanced to Mr. Bentham 
in order that he might make the necessary preparations ; 
but four years later the project was still hanging fire, and 
Bentham was out of pocket to the extent of ^9,000. Ac- 
cording to Mr. Allen's History of London* the contract 
was re-purchased for the sum of ^^23,578. In 1798 we find 
Mr. Bentham again giving evidence before the House of 
Commons, recommending the adoption of a site in Tothill- 
fields, which he quaintly described — "If a place could exist of 
which it could be said that it was in no neighbourhood, that 

* Vol, IV., p. 234. 

370 Millbank. 

place would be Tothill-fields." The site previously decided 
upon at Battersea-rise was abandoned, and 53 acres of land 
in Tothill-fields were purchased of Lord Salisbury for 
^12,000, and conveyed to Mr. Bentham as feoffee for the 
Crown. Upon the two local Vestries being informed in 
1799 of the propo.sed application to Parliament for erecting 
a Penitentiary House in Tothill-fields, resolutions were 
passed by both bodies " that the erection of a Penitentiary 
House in Tothill-fields will be highly injurious to the 
rights privileges and interests of the inhabitants of the 
united parishes of Saint Margaret and Saint John the 
Evangelist ; " but without effect.* 

The land acquired as a site for the new prison lay on 
either side of the Vauxhall-bridge-road, which being 
laid out after the purchase, divided the property into two 
lots of 38 and 15 acres respectively — and it was ultimately 
decided to build the prison on part of the larger area of 
ground near the river. On the 12th June, 181 2, the three 
supervisors proceeded to business ; 43 designs were sent in, 
and Mr. William Williams gained the first prize. His 
revised drawings were subsequently submitted to Mr. 
Hardwicke, the appointed architect, whose original estimate 
amounted to ;^259,725, and additional for foundations, 
^^42,690. Trials and troubles innumerable then commenced; 
the peaty soil was found to be treacherous in the extreme, 
and the reader who would acquaint himself with an account 
of the difficulties met with must turn to Major Griffith's 

When the boundary wall nearest the river had been built 
six feet high, it sank, and had to be taken down and re-built 
on new foundations. The soil was drained by a steam-pump, 
when the peat thus becoming deprived of water, all the 
surface of the marsh sank some nine inches, bringing down 
the greater part of the work with it. The lodge after being 
built, was found to be unsafe, when longer and more 

* See page 163 of Local Government in Westminster. 

Structural difficulties. 371 

numerous piles underneath were substituted ; but this part 
of the building continued for years after in an unsatisfactory 
state, and had eventually to be in part pulled down, when 
all the piles and planking were found to be decayed, owing 
to the excessive humidity of the soil. 

Countless tons of cement brickwork lie beneath the 
foundations, which were being continually doctored, and the 
saying "that there is more stuff below ground than above 
at Millbank" may prove to be, when the work of demolition 
commences, literally true. 

Late in 181 3 Mr. Hardwicke resigned and Mr. Harvey, 
v\'ho was appointed in his stead, saw the work through. In 
June, 1 8 16, the first batch of prisoners — 36 females — were 
received. In September, alarming symptons of failure and 
'settlement' appeared in the building. Serious cracks and 
fissures opened in the walls of pentagon No. i, and the 
safety of the whole edifice was for the moment in question. 
The two eminent engineers, Messrs Rennie and Smirke, 
were consulted. They condemned the main sewer and 
artificial foundations, as well as three of the pentagon 
towers, and Mr. Robert Smirke was appointed to carry out 
the necessary work of strengthening and re-construction. 

In 1 8 17 the two new pentagons, the third and fourth, 
were finished, and in December, 18 19, the prison population 
was 325. In 182 1 the fifth and sixth pentagons were 
finished, and the fabric of the prison was completed. "But 
other works lingered on for some time later. There were 
plumbers, painters, glaziers, paviors, locksmiths and copper- 
smiths, busy inside till the middle of the following year ; 
the kitchen ranges had to be fixed, iron flues also, steam 
pipes, hot-air stoves, and so forth. But on the 24th July, 
1822, the supervisors closed their accounts, and the bill for 
the whole outlay was sent in to the Treasury." It amounted 
to ^^450,310, or nearly ^^300 for each cell! The ground 
plan of the prison consists of six pentagonal buildings 
radiating from a circle, wherein is the governor's house ; 

372 Millbank. 

and each line terminates in a tower in the outer octagonal 
wall which encloses about i6 acres ; 7 covered with buildings, 
and 9 laid out as gardens. The corridors are upwards of 3 
miles long ; there are 40 staircases, making in all three miles 
in length, and about 1,550 cells. "There was one old warder," 
relates' Major Griffiths, " who served for years at Millbank, 
and rose through all the grades to a position of trust, who 
was yet unable, to the last, to find his way about the 
premises. He carried with him always a piece of chalk, 
with which he ' blazed ' his path as the American back- 
woodsman does the forest trees. Angles every twenty 
yards, winding staircases, dark passages, innumerable 
doors and gates — all these bewilder the stranger, and con- 
trast strongly with the extreme simplicity of modern 
prison architecture. But indeed Millbank, with its intricacy 
and massiveness of structure, is suggestive of an order that 
is passed. It is one of the last specimens of an age to 
which Newgate also belongs ; a period when the safe 
custody of criminals could only be compassed, people 
thought, by granite blocks, and ponderous bolts and 
bars. ... In these matters modern experience has 
worked an entire revolution. Moral supervision has, 
to a great extent, replaced mere physical restraint. It is 
found that prisoners can be more effectually guarded by 
warders of flesh and blood than by passive chains and huge 
senseless stones, provided only that there is above all the 
sleepless eye of a stringent systematic discipline." 
.. Hardly had the prison been twelve months completed 
when in the autumn of 1822 a strange sickness made its 
appearance amongst the prisoners. They became pale and 
languid, thin and feeble, accompanied with rejection of 
food and occasional faintings. In January, 1823, scurvy — 
unmistakeable sea scurvy — made its appearance, and with 
it dysentery and diarrhoea of the peculiar kind that is 
usually associated with the scorbutic disease. In May, 
1823, there were 386 sick ; in June, 454 ; in July, 438. At 

TJie Penitentiary a failure. 373 

this time the prison population amounted to 800. There 
were in all 30 deaths. Of course the explanation was the 
insufficient diet and the want of vegetables — not the 
unhealthiness of the site, as was at the time supposed by 
the public, who began to fear that Millbank was a huge 
mistake. ' Here was a building upon which half a million 
had been spent, and now, when barely completed, proved 
uninhabitable ! ' It was decided to give the prisoners a 
change of air and place. An Act of Parliament was 
immediately passed, authorising their transfer to situations 
more favourable for the recovery of their health ; a number 
of the female prisoners were at once sent into the Royal 
Ophthalmic Hospital, Regent's-park, then standing empty ; 
and males and females alike were drafted into different 
hulks off Woolwich. In December, 1823, Millbank Peni- 
tentiary was completely empty. However, the prison was 
re-opened in August, 1824. 

Concerning the trials of the early management, the 
mutinous behaviour of the prisoners, the chaplain's reign, 
the escapes, the Millbank Calendar, and many other in- 
teresting matters, the exigencies of space compel silence in 
these pages. 

The prison w^as made extra-parochial by Act of Parlia- 
ment. In 1843, after seven and twenty years of trial, the 
Millbank Penitentiary, " the great reformatory and moral 
hospital, the costly machine in which had been sunk half a 
million of money," was declared to be a complete failure — 
" a mistake, a mockery, a sham " ; and by the Act 6 and 7 
Vict., cap. 26 (1843) the name was altered to " The Millbank 
Prison." Millbank was destined now to become the starting 
point of the new method of carrying out transportation. 
Every male and female convict sentenced to transportation 
in Great Britain was sent to Millbank previous to the sen- 
tence being executed. Here they remained about three 
months under the close surveillance of three inspectors of the 
prison, at the end of which time those officers reported to 

374 Millbank. 

the Home Secretary, and recommended the place of trans- 
portation. The population was no longer, so to speak, 
stationary, but fluctuating : instead of two or three hundred 
men and youths specially chosen to remain within the walls 
for years. Captain Groves, the new Governor, had to take in 
all that came, en route for the colonies ; so that in the twelve 
months several thousands passed through his hands. In 
1853 transportation was finally abandoned, and a new style 
of punishment was invented, to describe which the phrase 
" penal servitude " was coined, and passed current in the 
language. The building was, in fact, changed into a regular 
Government prison for criminals, adult and juvenile, and 
became the general depot for convicts waiting to be drafted 
to other prisons, or placed on shipboard for dockyard 
labour ; and here were sent the most reckless and hardened 
criminals from all parts of the country. The penultimate 
change in the prison's destinies took place upon the closing 
of Tothill-fields prison {see p. 322) when Millbank became the 
sole metropolitan prison for females. And now it is to be 
demolished, and in the near future the forbidding, dismal 
entrance gate, where — 

" Above the gloomy portal arch 
Timing his footsteps to a march 
The warder kept his guard " 


and inscribed above which one almost expected to read 
the well known line — 

" All hope abandon ye who enter here." 

Gary's Dante, III., 9. 

will no longer frown sullenly upon the passers-by in Gros- 
venor-road, nor upon the "large, gentle, deep, majestic King 
of Floods," as it goes hurrying along — 

Down where conimerce stains the tide 

Deep in dim wreaths of smoke enfurl'd, 
The wonder of the modern world.* 

On the eve of loth April, 1848, when the whole of London 

* Verses, ' ' By Tamise Ripe," vol. j, of Once a We^k, 

A gloomy prospect. 


Z 2 

376 Millbank. 

was in a state of panic at the Chartist agitation, the prison 
was used by the Duke of Wellington as a station for two 
regiments of the line, who, with others posted out of sight 
elsewhere in the metropolis, were held in readiness to 
check any disorder which might be attempted by the 
thousands who had been invited to meet and march in pro- 
cession to the House of Commons with the Charter petition. 
The meeting was held, but was brought to " a ridiculous 
issue by the unity and resolution of the metropolis, backed 
by the judicious measures of the government, and the 
masterly military precautions of the Duke of Wellington." 

Millbank with other parts of ' our parish ' on that much- 
dreaded night was patrolled by numbers of loyal and peace- 
loving citizens of Westminster, who had enrolled themselves 
as special constables in the sacred interests of law and order. 

In the month of December, 1890, there was only one pri- 
soner there — too ill to be removed — and two warders.* 
And thus ends the history of Millbank prison, after a brief 
existence of four score years, though built to last for cen- 
turies. " Every part of the prison " declares the author of 
the Chronicles of Nezvgate, "visible and invisible, is a mine 
of wealth. Hidden amongst its hundreds of cells, its length 
of corridor and passage, beneath its acres of roof, are, 
without exaggeration, miles of lead piping, hundreds of 
tons of iron, immense iron girders, gates in dozens, — some 
of wrought iron, some of cast, — flagstones without end, 
shiploads of timber, millions of bricks. If ever the old place 
comes to be pulled down, the curious enquirer may perhaps 
understand why it was that it cost half a million of money." 

Major Griffiths' statement will very soon be put to the 
test. After nearly three years' controversy, since the 
prison's disuse, concerning the question of the utilization 
of the site, Mr. Shaw-Lefevre, First Commissioner of H.M. 
Works (in whom the property vests under an Act passed 

* Paily News, 27th Dec, 1890, 

Impending changes. ^yy 

last session) has (Nov. 28, 1892) officially stated that two- 
and-a-half acres on the river frontage is to be assigned for 
Mr. Henry Tate's ' National Gallery of British Art ' ; that 
a second portion is proposed to be exchanged with the War 
Office for ground belonging to the St. George's Barracks, 
,_ behind the National Gallery, Trafalgar-square, for a new 
barrack ; and that negotiations are proceeding with the 
County Council for the appropriation of a part in the rear 
to the erection of working-class dwellings. " The site is 
naturally one of the finest in London," remarks The Times 
of Nov. 29, 1892, " though it is grievously injured by that 
abomination the Lambeth Suspension-bridge." The Vestry 
endeavoured in May, 1892, to secure a portion of the site 
for the public use as a recreation ground, and intimated to 
the London County Council their willingness to contribute 
one-fourth the cost of ten acres of the land ; but no progress 
has been made in this matter at the time of writing. It is 
singular that the very latest item of information (a report 
of the County Council, dated Dec, 1892) contains a strong 
observation of their architect confirming all that has been 
said as to the unsuitable nature of the soil for building 
purposes. Reporting thereon, he says " there are signs in 
every direction of the treacherous nature of the subsoil, as 
settlements have evidently taken place below many portions 
of the boundary wall and also of the prison building." 

A little space may properly be spared here for a few 
words about the erudite " dreamer of dreams " who put so 
massive a structure on the spongy soil of Tothill-fields. 
Jeremy Bentham was the eldest son of Jeremiah Bentham, 
an attorney, and was born in Houndsditch, February 15th, 
1747 (old style). The christian name of Jeremy was 
derived from an ancestor. Sir Jeremy Snow, a banker of 
Charles II's. time. Jeremy was a precocious youth. When 
three years of age he read Rapin's History as an amuse- 
ment ; at seven he read Teleniaque in French ; at eight he 
played the violin, an instrument on which (as also on the 

378 Millbauk. 

organ) he became at a subsequent period of his Hfe, re- 
markabl}- proficient ; he was very distinguished at West- 
minster School, and at thirteen was removed to Oxford, 
where he attained the degree of M.A. nearly three years 
before he was of age. About 1765 his father purchased 
the house in Queen-square-place, where he and his son both 
passed the remainder of their lives. Jeremy Bentham can 
accordingly be claimed as essentially a Westminster man 
by education, by residence, and by his prison. Bentham's 
writings are very obscure ; his political principles were 
exceedingly advanced and distasteful to the times ; and his 
utilitarianism was certainly carried to extremes—" Let 
loose our Colonies " is an instance. Of his Panopticon 
scheme nothing further need be said here. He was 
engaged on the third volume of his magnum opus — the 
Constitutional Code — at the time of his death. His 
appearance, it has been remarked, " both in the amplitude 
of his look, the flow of his reverend hair, and the habitual 
benevolence of his smile, had a striking likeness to 
Franklin, and on a hasty glance the busts might be con- 
founded. He had all the practical wisdom of one of the 
sages of good sense ; took exercise as long as he could 
both abroad and at home ; indulged in reasonable appetite; 
and, notwithstanding the mechanical-mindedness with 
which his utilitarianism has been charged, and the sus- 
picious jokes he could crack against fancy and the poets, 
could quote his passages out of Virgil, ' like a proper Eton 
boy.' He also played upon the organ, which looked the 
more poetical in him, because he possessed, on the border 
of his garden, a house in which Milton had lived, and had 
set up a bust against it in honour of the great Bard, him- 
self an organ player. Emperors as well as other princes 
had sought to do him honour ; but he was too wise to 
encourage their advances beyond what was good for 
mankind. The Emperor Alexander, who was afraid of his 
legislation, sent him a diamond ring, which the Philosopher 

Vaiixhall Gardens. 379 

to his immortal honour returned, saying (or something to 
that effect) that his object was not to receive rings from 
princes, but to do good to the world." The great jurist died 
at his house in Oueen-square-place, on June 6th, 1832, 
aged 85 ; his death was 'singularly tranquil.' 

A broad embankment now extends the whole length of 
the river in front of Millbank Prison. Leaving the river at 
the Vauxhall-road pier, a broad and open thoroughfare 
conducts us to Vauxhall-bridge, passing Millbank Slate 
Wharf (acquired by the Vestry in 1891 for their purposes), 
Victoria-wharf, Parliament-wharf, and Baltic-wharf in the 
possession of Mr. S. Nash Castle. 

The whole riverside thoroughfare from Lambeth-bridge 
to Chelsea-embankment is now known as Grosvenor-road. 
That part of it mentioned above between the Prison and 
Vauxhall-bridge was, until 1876, called Ponsonby-street. 
The other half of the crescent facing the approach to the 
bridge, on the south side, was known as "Trinity-terrace." 

By an Order of the Metropolitan Board of Works, dated 
4th August, 1876, the subsidiary names of Millbank-row, 
Ponsonby-street, Crescent-terrace, and Trinity-terrace were 
abolished, and the whole line of thoroughfare from 
Lambeth-bridge to Chelsea-bridge re-named Grosvenor- 
road and re-numbered. Millbank-row is now known as 
I to 18, Grosvenor-road ; Ponsonby-street extended from 
the prison to Vauxhall-bridge ; Crescent-terrace is now 
46 to 57, Grosvenor-road ; and Trinity-terrace 68 to 
75, Grosvenor-road. Millbank-street now extends from 
Abingdon-street to Lambeth-bridge. 

Inasmuch as Vauxhall-bridge owes not only its name 
but its origin to the famous Gardens which once adorned 
the Surrey side of the Thames over against Millbank, it 
may be permitted to say a few words respecting them. 
The place had been a public resort since the days of 
Charles the Second, when they were known as the New 
Spring Gardens ; but the unique celebrity of the Gardens 

380 Millbank. 

dates from 1732, when on June 7th they were opened with 
an entertainment called Ridotto al fresco, at which the 
Prince of Wales was present, the majority of the company 
appearing in masks and dominos. The place soon became 
of world-wide renown for its walks, lit with thousands of 
lamps ; its musical and other entertainments ; its statues 
and pictures ; its suppers — not forgetting the delicious ham 
cut in slices of wafcry thinness ; and its fireworks. Its 
gaieties have been described by Fielding in his Amelia, 
1751 ; also by Goldsmith in his Citize7i 0/ the JVor/d, in 
which he is enraptured with " the lights glimmering through 
the scarcely moving trees ; the full bodied concert bursting 
on the stillness of night ; the company gaily dressed, and 
the tables spread with various delicacies." The Gardens 
were finally closed in 1859, after low prices had brought 
low companies. The most profitable season was that of 
1823, when there were 133,279 visitors, the receipts 
amounting to ^29,590. 

We may be sure that during the halcyon days of 
Vauxhall-gardens, crowds were wont to gather on Millbank 
to watch the pyrotechnic and hydropyric displays across 
the water. On one occasion, July 20, 1802, when a grand 
fire balloon was sent up by M. Garnerin, the crowd of 
spectators was astonishing; the highways and lanes in the 
neighbourhood were filled from side to side; and West- 
minster-bridge for half-an-hour was completely impassable. 
At other times the fireworks of Signor Ruggiert or Madame 
Hengler would be the attraction. — 

" Oh ! Mrs. Hengler I— Madam,— I beg pardon. 
Starry Enchantress of the Surrey Garden I 
Accept an ode not meant as any scoff — 
The Bard were Isold indeed at thee to quiz, 
Whose squibs are far more popular than his ; 
Whose works are much more certain to go off I 
Strange helps to thy applause too are not missing ; 
Thy Rockets raise thee. 
And Serpents praise thee. 
As none beside are ever praised — by hissing ! " 


A capacious tree. 381 

Mr. Percy Fitzgerald in his recently published Pictni'csgue 
London* takes particular notice of the grotesque figure- 
heads at Mr. Castle's Baltic-wharf (i 59-161, Grosvenor- 
road) — 

At Vauxhall Bridge we come to a curious conceit that would have 
' arrided' — Lamb's word — the heart of Dickens. Here is a large yard 
devoted to the sale of ship timber, for which old vessels of course are 
bought and broken up. But there remain always the old figure-heads 
— strange, curious, gigantic efforts, that make one wonder what 
manner of man the designer was. Nor are they without merit or 
spirit. They rise towering with a strange stark air, and look over the 
wall with much of the dazed astonishment the animals showed in 
Charles Lamb's copy of Stackhouse's Bible. Here are Dukes of York 
with a fatuous e.xpression, the Janet Simpson, or Lady Smith, and Iron 
Dukes — all, it must be said, wrought rather vigorously, and looking 
with eternal solemnity over the wall, each some six or eight feet high, 
to the surprise of the stranger. The natives are familiar with them. 

In the Grace Gollection of Prints (British Museum) there 
is an interesting pencil sketch by W. Gapon, dated 1798 
(June 10), being "a view in Tothill-fields near the Timber 
Yard," and showing an old tree in which was a table and 
seat for three persons. A pencil note by the artist reads — 
" In this tree was a table and seat for three persons to sit 
and to drink, &c. ; they went up by pieces nailed across 
the tree like a ladder. It was cut down to make way for 
the new Vauxhall-bridge." (Portfolio XIV., No. 2.) 

In 1809 a company was incorporated for the purpose of 
" building a bridge from the south side of the river at or 
near Gumberland-gardens, or Vauxhall turnpike, 'in Lam- 
beth, to the opposite shore, called Millbank, in the parish of 
St. John, Westminster," — the 49 Geo. III. c. 142. 

The scheme was originally planned in 1808 by Mr. Ralph 
Dodd,-|- the civil engineer (i 761 -1822) and projector of 
tunnels, who certainly seems, says Gharles Knight "to have 
had the misfortune of constantly witnessing other men 
reaping the honours he had sown.":|: The company were 
to be repaid by tolls, and one of the promised great sources 

* Pictiiresqiie London, 1890, p. 270. 

t Father of George Dodd, who designed Waterloo Bridge. 

X Cyiiopadia. 

382 Millbank. 

of profit which induced the original subscribers to embark 
on the undertaking, was the expected traffic from visitors on 
foot and in vehicles to Vauxhall-gardens. Hitherto people 
came thither by coaches to the waterside and thence by 
wherry-boats to Vauxhall-stairs, as described in Fielding's 
Avidia. The gardens, it is true, survived the opening of 
the bridge nearly a quarter of a century, but it is by no 
means uncertain that the presence of so incongruous a thing 
as an iron bridge did not help them on the downward way. 

The beginning of the new bridge was most inauspicious, 
for disputes and dissensions of a remarkable kind attended 
it throughout. Dodd was dismissed in favour of Mr. (after- 
wards Sir) John Rennie, and the works for the building of 
the new bridge were not commenced until May 9, 181 1, 
when the first stone of the pier on the Middlesex side, 
begun by Mr. Rennie, was laid by Lord Dundas as proxy 
for the Prince Regent (afterwards George IV.). On that 
day the weather was so stormy that, although the coins, 
etc., were duly deposited by the Regent's proxy, the stone 
had to be left for the time uncovered. Mr. Rennie in his 
turn quarrelled with the directors, and the project was 
handed over to Sir Samuel Bentham.* After that the 
works were suspended for a couple of years. Sir Samuel 
retiring in his turn, and finally Mr. James Walker, the 
architect, \\'hom the Corporation of London had deputed 
to inspect the works, took up the enterprise. Another Act 
of Parliament was passed — 52 Geo. Ill, c. 147 — and another 
ceremony of laying a " foundation stone on the opposite side 
was performed on August 21, 181 3, by Prince Charles, the 
eldest son of the Duke of Brunswick, who so soon after fell 
on the glorious field of Waterloo" — 

"Within a winnowed niche of that high hall 
Sate Brunswick's fated chieftahi ; he did hear 
That sound, the first amidst the festival, 
And caught its tones with Death's prophetic ear ; 

* Both Mr. Walcott and Mr. Knight make the strange mistake of con- 
founding Jeremy Bentham with his lirother Sir Samuel, the engineer and 

V ail xhall-b ridge. 383 

And when they smiled because he deemed it near, 
His heart more truly knew that peal too well 
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier, 
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell ; 
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell I" 


The change from stone to iron was made on grounds 
of economy, the new Act of 18 12 being obtained for the 
purpose ; but unfortunately progress had been made with 
the foundations, so that the nine arches, each of only 78 
feet span, had to be retained. The entire work was 
finished in 18 16, and it was opened on June 4th of that 
year. The iron superstructure was cast at Butterly in 
Derbyshire, and consists as already mentioned, of nine 
equal arches, each of 78 feet span, supported on eight 
rusticated stone piers, each 1 3 feet wide above low water 
level, built on a foundation of wooden framing cased with 

The piers thus occupy about 104 feet of the waterway, 
or about one-eighth of the total width of the river 
between the abutments. The length of the bridge 
between the abutments is 809 feet, and its width 
between the parapets 36 feet 3 inches, having a carriageway 
24 feet, and two footways each 6 feet i ^ inches wide. 
The superstructure of each arch consists of 10 cast iron 
ribs 18 inches deep, spaced about 4 feet apart, and they 
support the vertical cast iron spandril standards upon which 
rest the ribbed cast iron plates which retain the macadam 
roadway filling. The heights of the soffits of the arches at 
the centre of the bridge vary from 26'5 feet to I7'0 feet 
above Trinity high water at the centre of the arches 
adjoining the abutments. The prevailing gradient over the 
bridge is about i in 35. The gradient on the Middlesex 
approach is i in 29, and that on the Surrey approach 
I in 30. 

Vauxhall was nearly the earliest of the cast-iron metro- 
politan bridges, Southwark being its junior by a year or 

384 Millbank. 

two. The bridge cost ^259,681 to build ; in 1849-50 its 
half-year's clear revenue from tolls was ;^2,986 3s. 4d. 
The roadway on the south side crosses the site of the 
Cumberland Tea Gardens. The bridge was purchased by 
the Metropolitan Board of Works for ^75,000, and was 
freed from toll on May 24th, 1879.* The muddle and ill- 
luck which characterised the early history of the bridge has 
never forsaken it, and now after an uneventful existence of 
some 76 years, it is doomed to disappear and make M^ay 
for a structure better suited to meet " not only the pressing 
needs of the present time, but those of future generations."-}- 
An examination of the pier foundations made by a diver 
in 1887 showed that the bottom of the timber cradles upon 
which the piers are founded were in several places four or 
five inches above the level of the clay bed of the river, caused 
by the scour of the current which flows through the narrow 
arches at an extreme velocity — at times the ebb tide runs 
through with a surface velocity of 71^ miles an hour. When 
wind and tide are both ahead, it has been no uncommon sight 
to see one of the Chelsea steamboats put its passengers 
ashore short of their destination after fruitless efforts to 
stem the force of the current ; barges are occasionally car- 
ried on to the piers to the injury of both ; and in several 
instances lives have been lost. When in addition to this 
are borne in mind its paltry dimensions, its cruelly steep 
approaches, the increased traffic owing to the enlargement 
of Vauxhall station, the weak condition of Lambeth 
bridge, and the need for continuous tram communication 
between Victoria and Vauxhall railway stations, it must be 
confessed that it has not been condemned a day too soon. 
The London County Council propose (1892) to construct a 
five-arch steel bridge with granite faced piers and abut- 
ments, the width between the parapets to be 80 feet. The 
cost is estimated to be about ^^"380,000. To accommodate 
the traffic during the re-building of Vauxhall-bridge it is 

* Sec p. 345. t Report of Bridges Committee of County Council, July, 1892. 


The Neat-houses. 385 

proposed to build a wooden bridge, not less than 50 feet 
wide, to cross from the extreme western end of the Albert- 
embankment to Millbank. The cost of this temporary- 
bridge is estimated at ^^30,000. 

From Mr. I'imbs' Ciifiosities of London we learn that the 
low grounds west of this bridge, " formerly known as the 
Neathouse Gardens, were elevated to a level with the 
Pimlico-road, by transporting hither the soil excavated 
from St. Katherine's Docks ; and upon this artificial 
foundation several streets were built." The docks in 
question were partially opened for business in 1828. 

The Neat-houses, which once existed hereabouts, having 
been mentioned, the occasion may opportunely serve for 
a closer examination of this ill-defined district, whose only 
landmark for centuries was a parcel of rude outlying sheds 
belonging to some prudent husbandman, recalling Virgil's 
description : — 

" In th' evening to a fair ensuing day 
With joy he sees his flocks and kids to play, 
And loaded kine about his cottage stand 
Inviting with known sound the milker's hand." 

Cowley; trans. Virg. Gcorg. 

The precise locality of the Neat-houses has been a vexed 
question with most antiquarians who have written of West- 
minster and Chelsea ; and indeed so many changes have 
taken place in the topographical surroundings and appear- 
ance of this part of the metropolis, that uncertainty is easily 
excusable. Such old maps as show them are by no means 
reliable, by reason of the disappearance of old land-marks, 
of the alteration in the line of river-shore, and, it must be 
added, of the fact that the draughtsmen in days gone by 
did not pay so much attention ' to scale ' as would now be 
observed. But excuses for them can be found in the fact 
that this part of the world was, even in the present century, 
a terra incognita of pasture, market-gardens, and common, 
relieved only by some sheds " for cattle of the ox kind." 

As \ve approach the question of their exact position, we 

386 TJie Neat-houses. 

find that John, fifth son of Richard, Duke of York, was 
born at the Manor House of Neyte, Nov. 7, 1448. The 
site of the Neat-houses is described in a grant in the Clause 
Rolls, 28 Henry VHI. (1538) as the "Manor of Neyte, 
with the precinct of water called the Mote of the said 
Manor." This manor. Dean Stanley tells us " by the river- 
side at Chelsea, was a favourite country-seat of the Abbots. 
There Littlington and Islip died." It was, with the manor 
of Hyde, exchanged with Henry VHI. for Hurley.* The 
Dean also mentions that famous John of Gaunt borrowed 
the Manor House from the Abbot for his residence during 
Parliament.-]- King Edward VI. granted to Sir Anthon}' 
Brown, Master of the Horse (one of the regents appointed 
by King Henry's will) " the house called the Neate and all 
the site, circuit, ambit and premises thereto belonging, late 
parcel of the possessions of Westminster Abbey, and 
situated in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields," to Sir 
Anthony Browne, on June 28, in the first year of his reign 
(1547). So much for the manor. Strype's Stowe mentions 
the Neat-houses as noted for garden produce. : — 

" The Neat Houses are a parcel of Houses most seated on the banks 
of the river Thames, and inhabited by gardeners, for which it is of 
note for the supplying London and Westminster Markets with As- 
paragus, Artichokes, Cauliflowers, Muskmelons, and the like useful 
things, which by reason of their keeping the ground so rich by dunging 
it (and through the nearness of London they have the soil cheap) doth 
make their crops very forward, to their great profit, in coming to such 
good markets." 

It should be particularly noticed that he places them i" 
Westminster. Under the heading, " For the Adjacent or 
Out Parts of the Parish," he speaks of the Neat-houses as 
above, and then of Knightsbridge. 

Pepys knew them, as is shown by more than one entry 

in his oft-quoted Diary : — 

'^Atig. 7, 1667. . . . After the play, we went mto the house, 
and spoke with Knipp, who went abroad with us by coach to 

* Dugdale L, 282. 
\ Archicological Journal, No. 114, p. 144. 

Their situation. 387 

the Neat Houses in the way to Chelsy ; and there, in a box 
in a tree, we sat and sang, and talked and eat ; my wife out 
of humour, as she always is, when this woman is by. So, 
after it was dark, we [went] home. Set Knipp down at home, 
who told us the story how Nell is gone from the King's house 
and is kept by my Lord Buckhurst . , . ." 

" May 28, 1668. . . . Met Mercer and Gayet, and took them 
Ijy water, first to one of the Neat Houses, where walked m 
the garden, but nothing but a bottle of wine to be had, though 
pleased with seeing the garden; Mtd so to Fox Hat/, where 
with great pleasure we walked " 

The gardens were evidently in his time a place of resort 
for at fresco entertainment. Richard, Lord Braybrooke, 
Pepys' best editor, says in a foot-note ancnt the Neat-house 
gardens : " They seem to have been situated at or near 
Millbank." The words of the diarist, " and so to Fox Hall," 
are significant that they must have been quite close to the 
river bank, whence Pepys and his party could take boat to 
cross over to the gardens of Vauxhall. 

And yet elsewhere Pepys writes — 

" We hear that Madame Ellen Gwyn's mother, sitting lately by the 
water side at her house by the Neate Houses, near Chelsea, fell acci- 
dently into the water and was drowned." 

In the report entitled Local Government in Westminster, 
published by the United Vestry in 1889, it is made to 
appear, from the best evidence then to hand, that the Neat- 
houses were situated exclusively in that part of the parish 
of St. Martin-in-the-fields which now forms part of St. 
George's, Hanover-square. The truth of the matter is, there 
were Neat-houses on both sides of the King's Scholars'-pond, 
the " thin stream " which then (as now) constitutes the 
boundary between the two parishes. Colour was given to 
the error (if such it can be called) in the report above 
mentioned, by the discovery in the Vestry minutes, then 
for the first time systematically exploited, of a proposal 
made at a Vestry meeting on Sunday, i8th November, 
171 1, to surrender the Hamlet of Knightsbridge for the 

388 The Neat-houses. 

Neat-houses ; as also by a quotation made by Peter 
Cunningham from the accounts of the overseers of St. 
Martin-in-the-Fields :— 

The xiijth dale of Male 162 1 To the iiij bearers for bringing 
the drownd woman from the Thames near the Neate 
House \\\yt 

Nothing could be more explicit than the Vestry's resolu- 
tion just referred to : — 

iSth November, ij II.— i:\v?A Mr Thomas Wisdome & Mr Tho^ 
Yeomanes be desired to goe to Mr Eh'idge Clerk of the 
Vestry of St. Martin's in the Feilds in order to treat with 
some of the Gent^ of the Vestry belonging to the said Parish 
relating to the Neathouses being taken into this Parish of 
St. Marg" Westm"" & to Offer them in Liew thereof the 
Hamlett of Knightsbridge within this Parish. 

It should here be explained that the parish of St. Martin- 
in-the-Fields, originally taken from St. Margaret's parish, 
extended along the line now known as the King's Scholars' 
pond sewer, to the river side, from a point just to the west 
of the present Vauxhall bridge to the junction with Chelsea, 
and passed northwards again along the line of the West- 
bourne river, now the Ranelagh sewer, until the area was 
assigned to the parish of St. George, Hanover-square, upon 
its foundation in 1725. 

Hatton in his New Vt'ezv 0/ Loudon, 1708, says, "the 
Parish of St. Martin extended to the Thames near Chelsea." 
There is therefore strong evidence to show that certain Neat 
Houses and " the manor of Neate in the parish of St. Martin 
in the Fields," granted by Fdward VI. to Sir A. Brown, 
were certainly " beyond the limits of the ancient parish," to 
quote the words of the Vestry report of 1889. But it is 
equally certain that there were Neat-houses — perhaps of a 
later date — within the parish of St. John, near the Millbank. 

In a rate made in St. John's parish, in the spring of 1782, 
there are 20 properties assessed under the head of " Neat- 

TJie Salisbury estate. 389 

houses." They are entered in the book between " Millbank- 
street East " and " Millbank," and include : — 

Mr. Adams «& Archibald Campbell, bank for ) 

laying timber S Assessed at i; 15. 

Benj. Hodges, Distill-house and Vinegar Yard \ . 

Benj. Hodges for slip of land 3 Assessed at ^50. 

Major Griffiths, in Memorials of Millbank, mentions that 
"a large distillery, owned by a Mr. Hodge, stood near the pro- 
posed site of the prison." These Neat-houses "between Mill- 
bank-street East and Millbank," can therefore be fixed with 
sufficient exactness as somewhere close to the spot now 
covered by Purbeck-place, north of the prison. 

A plan preserved in the British Museum (Grace Collection, 
Portf XI, 13), of the estate belonging to the Marquis of 
Salisbury, at Millbank, dated 1780, is described by a key, 
which makes it perfectly clear that the properties, mentioned 
in the rate-book, occupied by Mr. Hodges and others, were 
situated close to the river bank (now Grosvenor-road), and 
separated from the water by a foot-path. A tea garden and 
house, very likely that known to Pepys, overlooked the 
water's edge. A considerable area of meadow land, with 
sheds, &c., was in the rear. The leases appear to have 
expired in 1803, so far as these houses were concerned. 

In September, 1831, the tender of "John Hall, of 
Neat Ho. Barn, Thames Bank," for scavenging, etc., was 
accepted by the Paving Commissioners. Still further 
evidence is afforded of the existence of Neat-houses within 
the boundaries of the parish, by a correspondence which 
took place between the Commissioners and the Dean and 
Chapter, in 1822, respecting a bar, "put up with the view 
of preventing carts and carriages crossing the fields by 
Rochester-row in winter and wet weather, in order to 
preserve the way or approach to the houses in Rochester- 
row from being cut up." The Chapter Clerk replied that — 

"It never was the wish of the Dean and Chapter to withdraw 
entirely the kindness of permitting the Inhabitants of the Neat Houses 
and Lands adjoining making use of the convenience of the Fields as 

2 A 

390 Puss in a parachute. 

a Way at proper times. Pretensions to a right of Way have been 
claimed by the Proprietors of the Neat Houses and Lands, but whom 
I conceive have not the shadow of a right, and the Dean and Chapter 
in return for their kindness threat'ned with legal proceedings, and Acts 
of violence, if the Bar was shut, even on a Sunday. To avoid tumult 
and litigation it has been left open." 

" It was within one of the Neat-house-gardens near this 

bank," says the author of A Book for a Rainy Day, " that 

Garnerin's kitten descended from the balloon which 

ascended from Vauxhall-gardens in the year 1802. This 

descent is thus handed down in a song attributed to George 

Colman the younger, entitled 

" Puss IN A Parachute. 
" Poor puss in a grand parachute, 

Was sent to sail down through the air, 
Plump'd into a garden of fruit, 

And played up old gooseberry there. 
The gardener, transpiring with fear, 

Started just like a hundred stuck hogs ; 
And swore, though the sky was quite clear, 

'Twas beginning to rain cats and dogs. 
" Mounseer, who don't value his life, 

In the Thames would have just dipped his wings. 
If it vasn't for vetting his vife. 

For vimen are timbersom things : 
So at Hampstead he landed her dry ; 

And after this dangerous sarvice. 
He took a French leave of the sky 

And vent back to Vauxhall in a Jarvis." 

" What, will y oil walk with me about the town ?" 391 
Chapter XIII. 


" By thee transported, I securely stray 

Where winding alleys lead the doubtful way ; 
The silent court and opening square explore 
And long perplexing lanes untrod before." — Gav. 

" Here, you earth-born souls still speak 
To mortals, of their little week ; 
Of their sorrows and delights ; 
Of their passions and their spites ; 
Of their glory and their shame ; 
What doth strengthen and what maim. 
Thus ye teach us, every day, 
Wisdom, though fled far away." — Keats. 

" Great men have been among us ; hands that penned 

And tongues that uttered wisdom, better none ! " — Wordsworth. 

The pleasures of the town archaeologist. — London's many-sidedness. — 
Disappearance of sign-boards — Old Westminster signs. — Lighting, 
and Street Nomenclature. — Abingdon-street and Dirty-lane. — 
Telford. — Delaval's House. — John Churchill. — Arneway-street. — 
Barton and Cowley-streets. — An eminent actor and a little-read 
poet. — Dr. A. Bell. — Dr. Carey. — Chadwick-street. — Gt. College- 
street. — Gibbon and Keats. — The Wesleys. — Ginger's. — The Dead 
Wall. — Walcott and Thoms. — Hutton. — Douglas-street. — Fynes- 
street. — Grey-coat-place. — Horseferry-road and Market-street. — 
Laundry-yard. — Charles Marsham,Earlof Romney. — Vine-street and 
Charles Churchill. — Monck-street. — Elliston. — Orchard-street. — 
" John Buncle." — Peabody-buildings. — Pear-street. — Page-street. — 
Holyvvell-street. — Peter-street. — R. Cumberland. — Old and New Pye 
streets. — De Groot. — Perkin's rents. — Regency-street. — Rochester- 
row. — A troublesome ditch. — St. Ann's lane and street. — Robert 
Herrick. — Purcell. — Dr. Heather. — Rushworth. — Mob violence. — • 
Vagabondiana. — St. John-street. — Duck-lane. — Smith-square. — Gt. 
Smith-street. — Southerne, Steele, Nichols, and Dilke.^ — Strutton- 
ground. — Tufton-street and Bowling-alley. — Col. Blood, who stole 
the Crown. — Vauxhall-bridge-road. — Five Chimney-court. — War- 
wick-street. — The Willow Walk. — Wheeler-street and Wood-street. 
— John Carter. 

'T^HE poet Shelley, in his Letter to Maria Gisborne, ad- 
dresses her — 

You are now 
In London, that great sea, whose ebb and flow 
At once is deaf and loud, and on the shore 
Vomits its wreaks, and still howls on for more. 
Yet in its depths what treasures ! 

The inhabitants of Westminster are " citizens of no mean 
city "; and for such of them as take more than a bird's-eye 

2 A 3 

•392 Pleasures of the town arclia^ologist. 

view of their city, or even of that part of it which ' our 
parish ' forms, there are indeed in its depths treasures 
hitherto untold ! In the words of Dean Stanley, " it is the 
peculiar compensation to the inhabitants of a city like this, 
that what others gain from the study and enjoyment of 
Nature, you may gain from the study and enjoyment of 
history. What geology, mineralogy, and botany are to the 
dwellers in rustic parishes, that history is to the occupants 
of .streets, the neighbours of houses, whose very names are 
famous. The pleasure which a botanist finds in the flowers 
along the common pathways of his daily walks ; the plea- 
sure which the geologist finds in hills, valleys, roads, and 
railroads, as if their very sides were hung with beautiful 
pictures, which to him alone are visible, this same pleasure 
is given to the historian as he looks at the buildings, as he 
sees the names of even the commonest streets in London." 

" Houses and streets are indeed only the work of man," 
says Walcott, writing in a similar strain, " but it must be a 
cold superficial mind that can detect in them only a wide 
blank and monotonous league of weary masonry " ; and it 
is with a contemptuous scorn that Lawrence Sterne in the 
Sentimental Journey, pities the man " who can travel from 
Dan to Beersheba and cry, 'Tis all barren." 

It is well-known that Walpole had projected a work on 
the lines of a French book. Anecdotes des Rues de Paris, 
wherein he intended, in imitation of the French original, 
to have pointed out the streets and places where any re- 
markable incident had happened ; " but," he says, " I found 
the labour would be too great, in collecting material from 
various streets, and I abandoned the design, after having 
written about ten or twelve pages."* It may well be 
believed that the cultured dilettante soon became appalled 
at the literary Frankenstein he raised up for himself: it 
has been a matter of astonishment for the compiler of 
these notes to find while prosecuting the work of re- 
search that such a small, out-of-the-way part of London 
*}Valpoliana, Vol, I, 

" Vel, surefy, surely, these ivere famous men''' 393 

as ' our parish,' only dating its creation from 1728, and 
built upon or in the immediate vicinity of marshy fields, 
which Bentham stigmatised as being in no neighbourhood 
at all, should contain, within its narrow limits, so great a 
variety of historical and literary association. No more be- 
fitting words were ever spoken than those of Dean Stanley, 
quoted above. The narrow unpretentious streets and the 
dirty courts and lanes of St. John's parish, become vested 
with a new interest when connected with such names as 
Keats, Herrick, Cumberland the dramatist, Churchill, 
Southerne, Gibbon, Thoms, Steele, and Purcell — to mention 
only a few. Dr. Johnson is recorded by the faithful 
Boswell to have remarked, "If you wish to have a just 
notion of the magnitude of the City, you must not be 
satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but 
must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is 
not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the 
multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded 
together, that the wonderful immensity of London con- 
sists " ; and Boswell himself writes, " I have often amused 
myself with thinking how different a place London is to 
different people." It is, as it were, a mirror of innumerable 
facets, where each observer from every point of view, finds, 
according to his idiosyncrasy and temperament, the 
reflexive image of his own mind. To Carlylc it is " the 
tuberosity of modern civilisation," to Gray " a tiresome dull 
place," to Southey " a maze," to Cobbett " the great Wen," 
to Walpole "the securest solitude," and to Burke, "clean, 
commodious, neat, an endless addition of littleness to 

According to Leigh Hunt, it was in the reign of Charles 
the First that the City of Westminster first began to spread 
out across the fields {The Tozon, Vol. I.), and John 
Northouck, in h.\s New History of London (1773), speaks 
with approbation of the streets of Westminster as being 
more open and regular, compared with those of London. 

394 Streets and places. Shop sights. 

In 1760 names were first placed upon doors; in 1764 
houses were first numbered ; gas first appeared in West- 
minster streets in 1813 ; road watering was commenced in 
1825. The house signs of London did not begin to 
disappear until 1766, and the projecting signs and sign- 
boards of the shop-keepers had not all been taken down at 
the commencement of the present century. True, the art 
of reading, which may be said to have become a general 
acquirement by the middle of the eighteenth century, 
diminished the necessity for the retention of such signs ; 
nevertheless the absence of any general system of numbering 
the houses, which system had commenced in Paris as early 
as 1 5 12, justified, to some extent, the retention of the 
signs, while many of the shop-keepers clung to the traditions 
of their fathers in that respect. Gay, in his Trivia, points 
out some of the advantages of shop signs : — ■ 

If drawn by bus'ness to a street unknown 
Let the sworn porter point thee through the town ; 
Be sure observe the Signs, for Signs remain 
Like faithful landmarks to the walking train. 

The same observant poet discovers another use, even in 
the dissonant creaking of the signs, as affording a hint to 
the wayfarer and the lounger, either to hurry home or to 
hail a sedan-chair or a coach ; — 

But when the swinging signs your ears offend 
With creaking noise, then rainy floods impend. 

A print preserved in the Grace Gollection at the British 
Museum shows the sign of the ' Sugar Loaf suspended from 
a grocer's shop, in Orchard-street, so recently as 1840; the 
linen for the purposes of the church- was obtained at 
'The Sun'; and other articles of drapery were purchased 
of Mr. Johnston, of 'The Ship, in Smith-street, near 
Dean's-yard ' ; oilman's goods were supplied by Mr. 
Stephen FitzGerald of ' The Olive Tree, in Millbank-street, 
near the Horse Ferry ' ; and the silk-mercer's goods were 
procured from ' The Grown and Pearl.' 

" Whafs the reason of these arms ? " 395 

Most of the old Westminster signs were historical, and 
many in the vicinity of the Abbey bore religious charges. 
Signs are now only retained by public-houses, and we 
still have in St. John's the ' Salutation ' * (of the Virgin) in 
Barton-street, the 'White Hart,' the badge of Richard II., 
Grosvenor-road ; the ' Brown Bear ' of the Warwicks, in 
Marsham-street ; the ' White Swan,' badge of Henry V. ; 
and the ' Old Rose,' badge of the Tudors. 

Many of them denote the former rural character of the 
locality — the ' Barley Mow ' and ' White Horse and Bower,' 
in Horseferry-road ; the 'Three Elms,"'' Great Peter-street; 
the ' Wheatsheaf,' the ' Plough,' and the ' Three Jolly Gar- 
deners,' in Rochester- row ; and the ' Ramblers' Rest,' in 
Rochester-street — -who would think of rambling there now? 
Ground landlords are represented by the ' Westminster 
Arms,' Grosvenor Arms,' ' Mor^^eth Arms,' ' Bessborough 
Arms,' ' Ponsonby Arms,' and ' Rochester Arms ' ; while 
Labour displays its cognisances at the ' Paviors' Arms,' the 
'Builders' Arms,' and the 'Bricklayers' Arms.' The loyalty 
and patriotism of Westminster are shown by many inn- 
signs — in fact, the majority of them are so derived. We 
have, in St. John's parish alone, ' William the Fourth,' 
'George the Fourth,' 'Prince of Wales,' ' Duke of York,' 
'Duke of Clarence,' 'Prince Alfred,' 'Regent Arms,' 'King's 
Head,' ' King's Arms,' ' Queen's Head,' ' Queen's Arms,' 
the ' Crown,' the ' Crown and Sceptre,' the ' Thistle and 
Crown,' and the 'Royal Oak' ; and for patriotism, 'Admiral 
Nelson,' ' Lord High Admiral,' ' Lord Clyde,' the ' Welling- 
ton,' the ' Rifleman,' and the ' Volunteer.' Four ' Ships ' 
are in full sail with one ' Cabin ' amongst them, presumably 
overlooked by 'Britannia'; while "the trade" itself is 
represented by a brace of 'Two Brewers,' and the 'Brewers' 

Holywell-street, Esher-street, Earl-street, Johnson-street, 
Kensington-place, Grosvenor-street, Hudson's-terrace, and 

* Recently discontinued as public-houses. 

396 Streets and places. Nomenclature. 

Wilton-street, were first lighted and taken under the juris- 
diction of the Paving Commissioners in 1830. They had 
been built some few years previously. Medway-street, 
Allington-street, and Ship-court were not taken under con- 
trol by the Commissioners until 1848. 

The nomenclature of the streets in ' our parish ' is easily 
divisible into six several groups : (i) names having relation 
to the Abbey and the ancient monastery, as for instance, 
Bowling-alley, Vine-street, Orchard-street, Great and Little 
Peter-street, Dean-street (now Great Smith-street), College- 
street, and Millbank ; (2) names traceable to the ground 
landlords, owners, or builders ; (3) names in honour of the 
Royal House ; (4) names of direct association with other 
local objects of importance, as Horseferry-road, Vauxhall- 
bridge-road, Grey-coat-place, St. John's-street, Church- 
street, North-street, Artillery-row, &c. ; (5) names com- 
memorating persons of local fame, such as Monck-street, 
Chadwick-street, Walcott-street, Arneway-street, Johnson- 
street, Page-street, and Pye-street (Old and New) ; and (6) 
names of the fancy and imagination, concerning which it 
may be said that the more petty the property the more 
euphonious the title. 

It has long been a well-established usage in the metro- 
polis (and indeed it is general all over England) to name 
new streets after the christian and surname, titles and es- 
tates of the ground-landlords. This reasonable custom was in 
the 17th and iSth centuries carried to an extreme, of which 
instances can easily be found, on the Salisbury, Buckingham 
and Grosvenor estates. The last-mentioned family are trace- 
able in St. John's parish, in Grosvenor-road and street ; and 
Warwick-street and Tachbrook-street have been ascribed to 
the county and town where the Grosvenor family have some 
property, as also is Lillington-street. Marsham-street, Earl- 
street, and Romney street are derived from Charles 
Marsham, Earl of Romney. Bessborough-gardens, street, 

" Using the names of men." 397 

and place*, and Ponsonby-place and terrace are said to owe 
their names to the freeholders of the lands on which they 
stand — the Ponsonby family, -f- Earls of Bessborough, Pill- 
town, Ireland. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster own, 
as has been shown elsewhere, much of the acreage of the 
parish, and when Tothill-fields were being built upon the 
new streets were, in many cases, called after members of 
the capitular body. By this means the extent of the 
Ecclesiastical property in the parish can, in a great measure, 
be traced. There are, first of all. Deans-place (Dorset-street) 
and Chapter-street ; Vincent-square, street, row, court, and 
place ; Rochester-row, Allen-street, Carey-street, Edward- 
street, Bentinck- street, Fynes- street, Causton- street, 
Bell-street, Douglas-street, Frederick-street, Bloomburg- 
street, Wheeler-street, and Holland-street (now Monck- 
street). Medway-street may have been so-called because 
Rochester stands on the Medway, and the Deans of West- 
minster were Bishops of Rochester — such is the force of 
association. Cobourg-row was named after Prince Leopold 
of Saxe-Coburg, the husband of the Princess Charlotte ; 
and Brunswick-row in Grey-coat-place, and Brunswick-place 
in Regency-street bring to mind the Brunswick succession to 
the British Crown. Alfred-street was named after the 
youngest son of George III., Prince Alfred, who was born 
22nd September, 1780, and died 20th August, 1782. 
Allen-street, Rochester-row, is named after Canon Joseph 
Allen, 1806. 

Abingdon-STREET — a continuation of Millbank-street, 
and forming the connecting link between Old Palace Yard 
and Millbank, derives its name from a mansion belonging 
to the Earls of Abingdon, which formerly stood here. At 
the commencement of the last century this street was 
known as Lindsey, or Lindsay-lane, the house in question 
having been previously in the possession of the Berties, 

* Buonaparte-cottages and Gun-terrace were incorporated as part of Bess- 
borough-place in 1886. 

t This requires confirmation, however. 

398 Streets and places. Thomas Telford. 

Earls of Lindsc)'. In 1708 the same house afterwards 
became the residence of Dormer, Earl of Carnarvon. A 
gateway used to stand at the north of Lindsay-lane, down 
the narrow length of which the lumbersome state-carriage 
and eight heavily-caparisoned horses were driven into the 
courtyard of Lindsay House (at the south-west end of the 
street) in order to be turned round to take up the King 
when he returned from Parliament. The street was also at 
one time known as " Dirty Lane." At the commencement 
of the last century it was described, Walcott says, as a 
" narrow lane, pestered with coaches, which renders it dirty 
and inconvenient." (See also p. 339. J 

At No. 24 in this street died, on the 2nd September, 
1834, the eminent civil engineer, Thomas Telford, at the 
advanced age of "jj. He constructed the Bridgewater 
canal, 1793 ; the Caledonian canal, 1823 ; the suspension 
bridge over the Menai straits, 1826; and the St. Katharine's 
docks, opened 1828. Born at Westerwick, in Dumfries- 
shire, on the 9th August, 1757, the son of a shepherd, who 
died while he was yet an infant, his life, observes a writer 
in the Transactions of the Institute of Civil Engineers, 
affords another striking instance of men who have, " by the 
force of natural talent, unaided save by uprightness and 
persevering industry, raised themselves from the low estate 
in which they were born, to take their stand among the 
master-spirits of their age." Telford, who also acquired 
some distinction as a poet in the robust, homely style of 
Ramsay and Fergusson, was of athletic form, and reached 
the age of yp without any serious illness. He lies buried 
in Westminster Abbey.* 

In Abingdon-street lived also the eminent architect, 
Joseph Gwilt, four of whose sons were educated at West- 
minster School. 

Parliament-stairs (formerly called Queen's) were situated 
between Millbank and Abingdon-street. Here the Bishops 
* See his Life, edited by Rickman. 

Abingdon Street. _ 399 

used to land, coming from their palaces in the Strand and 
Southvvark in their state barges, rowed by boatmen in 
purple and white liveries. Archbishop Wake was the last 
Primate (1716 — 1737) who came from Lambeth across 'the 
silent highway ' of the Thames. 

Mr. J. T. Smith in his gossipy Book for a Rainy Da}\ 
writes as follows : — 


In the autumn of this year I passed a most agreeable day with the 
Hon. Hussey Delaval, at his house near Parhament Stairs. This 
learned and communicati^•e gentleman was as friendly to me, as the 
jealousy of that well-known odd compound of nature my antagonist, 
John Carter, who was of our party, would allow ; for with that artist's 
opinions as to Gothic architecture, Mr. Delaval so entirely coincided, 
that he employed him to provide the ornamental decorations of his 
house, which were mostly in putty, mixed with sand, and in some 
instances cast from the decorations of several Gothic structures, 
particularly Westminster Abbey. The .apartments are ten in number, 
besides small offices. The lower rooms consist of two halls : in the 
north wall of the first are three pretty Gothic recesses for seats, for 
servants or persons in waiting ; the second hall is filled with Gothic 
figures placed upon brackets under canopies. The chimney-piece and 
other parts of the dining parlour looking over the Thames are 
decorated in a similar manner ; the kitchen is on the same floor 
towards the north. The staircase leading to the first floor, is a truly 
tasteful little specimen, not equalled by anything at Strawberry Hill. 
The drawing room and library also look over the water. On the same 
floor are two bed chambers towards the west ; abo\e are two attics 
with a door opening upon the embattled leads over the drawing room. 
Upon these leads we took our wine, and here enjoyed the glowing 
Cuyp-like effect of the sun, upon west country barges laden either with 
blocks of stone, or fresh-cut timber, objects ever picturesque on the 

The Gentleman's Magazine for May, 1799, informs us 
that on the 7th of that ^ month — 

Mr. John Churchill, brother to the celebrated satirist, died at his 
house here. Jack Churchill (for such was the familiar name by 
which he was generally called by the numerous circle of friends who 
admired his good-humour and companionable qualities) possessed an 
uncommon knowledge of mankind ; and no one had a more ready turn 
for repartee. His wit, though pointed, was so much softened by a 
jovial pleasantry, that the object of it was content to join in the laugh 
at his own expence without feeling any resentment. Mr. C. like his 
brother, was strongly inclined towards politicks. Mr. C.'s habits were, 
however, fixed too strongly before he ventured into public life to be 

400 Abingdon-buildings ; Arneway-street. 

very useful in such a situation ; for he was too social, and too much 
incHncd to the enjoyment of private ease, for the spirit of aml^ition to 
be capable of rousing hmi into the continual exertion which public 
stations might require. The illness which put a period to Hfe had 
longed preyed upon him ; and it is to be regretted that it was not 
borne with the degree of fortitude that might have been expected from 
his good sense and manly character. 

Here also died in January, 1791, William Pearce, Esq., 
a nephew to the Bishop of Rochester. 

Pepys was a frequenter of the Heaven Tavern in 
Lindsay-lane, now the site of the Committee Rooms of the 
House of Commons. 

Abingdon-buildings — ran from Abingdon-street to 
the Thames, opposite Great-College-street. They were 
swept away on the erection of the new Houses of Parlia- 
ment. Mr. Barnard, who was tried on May nth, 1758, for 
addressing threatening letters to the Duke of Manchester, 
resided in Abingdon-buildings. 

It may be mentioned here that the Victoria Tower and 
the Chancellor's Court, Royal Gallery, and Royal Court of 
the House of Lords are in St. John's parish. 

Richard Cumberland (1732 — ^1811) after his marriage 
lived in Abingdon-buildings. 

Arneway-street — was known until 1889 as Allington- 
street, when it was re-named in order to avoid confusion 
with a street of the same name near Victoria-station, in the 
neighbouring parish, and at the same time to perpetuate 
the memory of Thomas Arneway, the founder of Arneway's 
Trust, which dates from 1603. Its object is to advance 
sums of money, not exceeding ^^200 each, to honest young 
men being occupiers or traders in Westminster, at three per 
cent, interest ; further particulars are given in TJie 
Parochial Chanties of Westminster, 1890. In a recess in 
the wall of the north side of St. Margaret's Church is an 
antique monument of two figures in ruffles, kneeling on 
either side of a prie-dieu, with an inscription to the memory 

Artillery-7'ozv ; Barton-street ; Cowley-street. 401 

of Thomas Arneway (buried Dec. 8, 1603) and his wife 

Margaret, with some verses, of which the last line reads : — 

" Of such men as this Arnwaye God make the number large." 

Artillery-row — Artillery-place, Artillery-buildings, 
and Artillery-square (Strutton-ground), indicate more or 
less faithfully the old Artillery practice ground, where the 
men of Westminster at one time used to practice at the 
" Butts." {See page 282 ante^. The name of Artillery-terrace 
(4 to 16, Artillery- row) was abolished in 1876. Part of 
Brewer's-green extended to the rear of the east side of 

Barton-street and Cowley-street — were named 
after Barton Booth, the actor, much of whose property lay in 
Westminster. Cowley, in Middlesex, was the name of his 
country residence. This eminent actor, who was descended 
from an ancient and honourable Lancashire family, was born 
in 1 68 1, and educated at Westminster school under Dr. 
Busby. The grace of his action and the sweetness of his 
voice were first remarked in one of the school exhibitions, 
when the great applause he met with was, on his own con- 
fession, the first spur to his theatrical ambition. He ran 
away from Cambridge and joined a company of strolling 
players. He made his greatest "hit" in 17 12, when he 
identified himself with Addison's " Cato." His dignity, 
energy, and pathos as that lover of liberty were so con- 
summate, that on the first night Lord Bolingbroke and the 
Tories presented him with a purse of fifty guineas, col- 
lected in the boxes during the performance, " as a slight 
acknowledgment of his honest opposition to a per- 
petual dictator, and his dying so bravely in the cause of 
liberty."* Aaron Hill tells us that statistics proved 
that Booth could always obtain from eighteen to 
twenty rounds of applause during the evening. Booth's 
masterpiece as an actor is said by Gibber to have been 

* See Pope's letter to Trumbull, 30th April, 1713, where he describes the 
" first night," 

402 Streets and places. Barton Booth. 

Othello ; but his favourite part was the Ghost in " Hamlet," 
a performance, says Macklin, which has never been imitated 
successfully. His tone, his manner, and gait were so un- 
earthly, that the audience appeared to be under the im- 
pression that a positive spectre stood before them. Once 
when playing the Ghost to Betterton's " Hamlet," he is said 
to have been so horror-stricken as to be unable to proceed 
with his part. Booth often took inferior Shakespearian 
parts ; but if he saw a man in the audience whose good 
opinion he valued, he would fire up and play to him. 
Victor, speaking of his person, says " he was of a middle 
stature, five feet eight, his form rather inclining to the 
athletic, his air and deportment naturally graceful, with a 
marking eye, and a manly sweetness in his countenance. 
His voice was completely harmonious, from the softness of 
the flute to the extent of the trumpet." So much was he 
in favour with the rich and noble, that though he had no 
equipage of his own, there was not a nobleman in the 
kingdom, says Chetwood, who had so many sets of horses 
at his command. Booth was twice married ; first, in 1704 
to a daughter of Sir W. Barkham, and secondly, after nine 
years' widowerhood, to the beautiful and wealthy actress, 
Miss Hester Saintlow, the mistress, when young, of the 
great Duke of Marlborough, the " Santlow, fam'd for 
dance," commemorated by Gay. His will (printed in the 
London Magazine for 1733), bears strong testimony to his 
regard for her. This petted " actor-manager " died May 
JO) ^TIZ^ ^ncl is buried at Cowley, near Uxbridge. His 
bust in Poets' Corner, erected by his second wife (who be- 
came Mrs. Laidlaw), in 1772, "is probably," says Dean 
Stanley, " as much owing to his connection with West- 
minster as to his histrionic talent." Pope makes frequent 
references to him — 

Booth enters — hark I the universal peal ! 
" But has he spoken ? " Not a syllable. 
What shook the stage and made the people stare ? 
Cato's long wig, flow'red gown, and lacquered chair. 

Ep. I. 

AbraJuim Cowley. 403 

Or well-mouthed Booth with emphasis proclaims 
(Though but perhaps a muster-roll of names) — 

Sat. I. 

alluding to an absurd custom of actors in those days to 
pronounce with emphasis the mere proper names of Greeks 
and Romans, which, as they called it, ' filled the mouth of 
the player.' The poet, it should be mentioned, strongly 
disliked Barton Booth ; perhaps his ill-nature was not 
pleased with the universal popularity of the great actor. 

As we have seen, Walcott, and all who have copied him, 
are in error in supposing that Cowley-street was named 
after the poet. It is almost a pity that such is not the case, 
for not only was Abraham Cowley, an " old Westminster," 
but the quietude of this corner of Westminster would have 
suggested, in the fitness of things, that it should bear the 
name of the peace-loving essayist and poet, who tells us, in 
his essay On Myself- — 

As far as my memory can return back into my past life, before I 
knew or was capable of guessing what the world, or glories, or business 
of it were, the natural affections of my soul gave me a secret bent 
of aversion from them, as some plants are said to turn away from 
others, by an antipathy imperceptible to themselves and inscrutable to 
man's understanding. Even when I was a very young boy at school, 
instead of running about on holidays and playing with my fellows, I 
was wont to steal from them and walk into the fields, either alone with 
a book, or with some one companion, if I could find any of the same 

This only grant me, that my means may be 
Too low for envy, for contempt too high. 

Some honour I would have, 
Not from great deeds, but good alone 
The unknown are better than ill known. 

- Rumour can ope the grave ; 
Acquaintance I would have, but when it depends 
Not on the number but the choice of friends. 

It was in Tothill-fields that the gentle boy poet — who 
knew Spencer when he was but twelve — used listlessly to 
roam ' in maiden meditation.' He died 28th July, 1667, 
the year also of the death of Jeremy Taylor, who was so 
like him, and of the birth of Jonathan Swift, who was so 

404 Streets and places. An old inn. 

unlike him. To quote from the beautiful verses he himself 

wrote of his dear friend, William Hervey : — 

With as much zeal, devotion, piety, 
He always lived as other saints do die. 
Still with his soul severe account he kept, 
Weeping all debts out ere he slept ; 
Then down in peace and innocence he lay. 

Like the sun's laborious light. 

Which still in water sets at night, 
Unsullied with the journey of the day. 

At the corner of Barton-street (east side) with Great 
College-street, there is a stone built into the wall, cut with 
the name and date, "Barton-street, 1722." There is a 
similar stone at the corner of Cowley-street with Barton- 
street, but no date is given, or at any rate distinguishable. 
Both streets were undoubtedly built at the same time. 

Rebecca Aldridge, who left a bequest to the parish 
{see chap. XVI.), lived and died in Barton-street. 

Until three years ago the old ' Salutation ' public-house, 
which stood at the corner of Barton-street and Cowley- 
street, reminded us that inns in other days used frequently 
to bear signs of a religious character. Originally the sign 
represented the Virgin being saluted by the angel Gabriel. 
In the prayerful days of the Commonwealth, this sign, 
which was not uncommon in London (as may be seen from 
the tavern tokens preserved at the Guildhall Museum), 
became changed to the ' Soldier and Citizen,' the sign 
representing two men ceremoniously greeting each other. 
But though the sign may have changed, the purpose of the 
inn, for Roundhead or Cavalier, was ever the same. As 
the old-time Cockney poet, friend of Chaucer, quaintly 
confessed — 

The outward sign of IJacchus and his lure. 

That at his doore hangeth day by day, 
Exciteth folk to taste of his moisture 

So often that men cannot well say nay. 
For me, I say I was inclined aye 

Withouten danger thither for to hie me. 
But if such charge upon my back lay, 
That I mote it forbear as for a time. 

HOCCLEVB (1370-1454). 

TJie pivjector of the National School sy stein. 405 

Bell-street, Vincent-square — was named after the 
great educationalist, Dr. Andrew Bell, the only Scottish 
Prebendary of Westminster, born 1752. Dr. Bell's famous 
system of mutual instruction was first introduced at 
Madras, where he became chaplain, 1789. Coming to 
England he founded many elementary schools in London 
and elsewhere on what was known as the Madras scheme 
of education in iZoj et seq. In fact he was the projector 
and founder of the " National Schools." During his 
residence in the East Indies Dr. Bell acquired considerable 
property which, with his preferments, enabled him to be- 
queath no less than .^^ 120,000 in support of national institu- 
tions and public charities. This benevolent man died at 
Cheltenham, 27th January, 1832. He lies in the South 
aisle of the Abbey, his monument mistakenly giving the 
date of his installation as 18 10, instead of 18 19.* 

In Bell-street is Bell-court. 

Bentinck-STREET — Vauxhall-bridge-road is so named 
after the Rev. W. H. E. Bentinck, Archdeacon and Pre- 
bendary of Westminster (1809), who built the beautiful 
church of Holy Trinity, in Bessborough-gardens, at the 
foot of Vauxhall-bridge. (Seepage 239. j 

Bloomburg-STREET — as it is erroneously spelt, and 
Frederick-street, are named after Canon Frederick Blom- 
berg, 1808. Three houses on the west side of the Vauxhall- 
bridge-road, until 1890 considered as being in Bloomburg- 
street, were then made part of Charlwood-street. 

Carey-STREET, — Vincent-square, perpetuates the name 
in Westminster of William Carey, D.D. (born Nov. 18, 1769), 
a distinguished Westminster scholar. He stood head of the 
election to Oxford in 1789, and was appointed head-master 
of Westminster School in 1803, although his youth caused 
many to express disapproval. Dr. Carey was nominated a 
prebendary of Westminster in 1 809. In December, 1 8 14, he 

* Stanley's Menignals ; Die, of Nat. Biog. 

2 B 

4o6 Streets and places. 

rcsin;ncd the head-mastership, and retired to his vicarage of 
Sutton-in-the-Forest, York. He was made Bishop of 
Exeter, 1820, and translated to the See of St. Asaph, 1830. 
He died Sept. 13, 1866. Bishop Carey bequeathed i^20,ooo 
to be invested in Three per cents., the interest of which was 
to be divided annually amongst the Westminster students 
at Christchurch, Oxford.* 

There is also a Carey-place in the Vauxhall-bridge-road. 
A Bedford-court was incorporated as part of Carey-place 
in 1886. 

Causton-STREET — was called after Canon Thomas 
Causton, 1799. In Causton-street are Clarke's-cottages 
and Gulston's-cottages. 

A Mr. Gulston was proprietor of the " White Hart," at 
the corner of Millbank-row, in 1817. The name is an 
uncommon one, and it is a legitimate surmise that the 
respected bourgeois, Mr. Gulston, who was an active man 
in the parish, having built a row of cottages, boldly made 
answer to Cowley's question— 

What shall I do to be for ever known, 
And make the age to come my own ? 

by assigning his patronymic to a property which even 
Strype, in his most lenient mood, would have called " but 

Chadwick-STREET — running south and west from Great 
Peter-street into the Horseferry-road, was known until 1889 
as " New Peter-street." The alteration was made in con- 
sequence of confusion with Great and Little Peter-streets, 
and the name was chosen by the United Vestry to com- 
memorate a munificent donor to Palmer's and Hill's alms- 
houses — Mrs. Hannah Sarah Chadwick, who, in 1859, gave 
a donation of ^^1,500 three per cent, annuities to the alms- 
houses in memory of her husband, Mr. James Chadwick, a 
former governor of the charities, and in the following year 
a like sum, the interest in each case to be devoted to the 

* Gent, Mag. for 1846, Vol. XXVI. 

Great College-street. 407 

increase of the stipends of the almspeople or ever. Two 
fine portraits in oils of Mr. and Mrs. Chadwick hang in the 
board-room of the new united alms-houses in Rochester- 

In COBOURG-ROW {see page 397)— were, until 1886, the 
subsidiary names of St. Margaret 's-terrace (Nos. 2 to 38), 
Rochester-place (Nos. 21 to 39), and Spencer-terrace (Nos. 
I to 19). The boundary line between the sister parishes 
proceeds along this thoroughfare. 

(Great) College-street — ^is perhaps one of the most 
ancient streets in Westminster. As has been mentioned 
elsewhere (/>. 348) a stream once ran down the street, 
forming the southern boundary of the Abbey-gardens, and 
the abbots were wont to take boat on this rivulet to go to 
the Thames. There was a large pond close by.* Abbot 
Littlington built the wall on the north side. The invaluable 
Seymour thus describes the locality as it appeared in 1735 — 

" College-street., formerly called the Dead-wall., as lying" against the 
wall of the College-garden and Lindsey-g?OL6.cxi : It has buildings only 
on the south side, which are prett)^ good, the north side being" the wall : 
In this street is Piper' s-groiind, which has, at present, a few houses built, 
the rest lying" waste : Here is also Brick-court, an indifferent place." 

Wealthy, well-born, and famous people have lived in this 
street. In Gibbon's Mevwirs of My Life and Writings, are to 
be found more than one reference to College-street, where his 
aunt, Mrs. Catherine Porten, kept a boarding house for 
Westminster boys, during Gibbon's brief stay at West- 
minster School (1749, 1750). He says: "After the 
Christmas holidays, in January, 1749, I accompanied Mrs. 
Porten to her new house in College-street, and was 
immediately entered in the school, of which Dr. John 
NicoU was at that time head-master. At first I was alone : 
but my aunt's resolution was praised ; f her character was 

* Stanley's Memorials ; p. 338, note 9. 

t Her father, James Porten, was an absconding bankrupt ; and Mrs. Porten 
resolved to follow " the humble industry of keeping a boarding-house for 
Westminster School, where she laboriously earned a competence for her 
old age." 

2 B 2 

^^o8 Streets and places. 

esteemed ; her friends were numerous and active : in the 
course of some years she became the [foster] mother of forty 
or fifty boys, for the most part of family and fortune ; and 
as her primitive habitation was too narrow, she built and 
occupied a spacious mansion in Dean's-yard." But 
Gibbon was too delicate for the robust life of a public 
school ; as he himself tells us : " Instead of audaciously 
mingling in the sports, the quarrels, and the connections of 
our little world, I was still cherished at home under the 
maternal wing of my aunt ; and my removal from West- 
minster long preceded the approach of manhood"; and 
again elsewhere, " My name, it is most true, could never be 
enrolled among the sprightly race, the idle progeny of 
Eton or Westminster, — 

Who foremost may delight to cleave, 
With pHant arm, the glassy wave, 
Or urge the flying ball." 

In after life the magnificent historian proved himself a 

grateful nephew. Speaking of his return from the continent, 

in 1758, he writes : — ■ 

" The only person in England whom I was impatient to see was my 
aunt Porten, the affectionate guardian of my tender years. I hastened 
to her house in College-street, Westminster, and the evening was spent 
in effusions of joy and confidence. It was not without some awe and 
apprehension that I approached the presence of my father. My 
infancy, to speak the truth, had been neglected at home ; the severity 
of his look and language at our last parting still dwelt on my memory, 
nor could I form any notion of his character or my probable reception. 
They were both more agreeable than I could e.xpect. The domestic 
discipline of our ancestors has been relaxed by the philosophy and 
softness of the age ; and if my father remembered that he had trembled 
before a stern parent, it was only to adopt with his own son an opposite 
mode of behaviour." 

The architect of the " golden bridge across the middle 
ages" died in St. James's-street, January i6th, 1794. 

College-street can proudly boast, too, of association with 
that true poet, John Keats (i 795-1 821), who dated letters 
of his to Fanny Brawne, in 18 19, from Great Smith-street 

" The sovereign pozver of Love!'' 409 

and 25, College-street, Westminster. No. 25 was near the 
corner of the present Tufton-street. * 'Poor Keats' had 
boasted, in a letter to Mr. Dilke.f the editor of TJie 
AtJieiiGuin^\hdX he had never "given in to the sovereign 
power of Love " at that time (1818) ; but, very soon after 
this date, the present Sir Charles Dilke justly remarks, the 
poet "gave in " to a passion " which killed him as surely as 
ever any man was killed by love." 

Too early banished from thy place of birth, 
By tyrant Pain, thy too bright Spirit fled I 

Too late came love to shew the world thy worth I 
Too late came Glory for thy youthful head I 

Proctor's Elegy. 

Walcott has the following amusing anecdote of the 
eccentric author, Paul Hiffernan, alias " Go your way" : — 

"To try how far Paul Hiffernan, a man of learning and ingenuity, 
would ' go your way,' a gentleman of his acquaintance, after treating 
him with a good supper at the Bedford Coffee-house, took his hand, 
and said, ' Good night, Paul.' 'Stay,' cried the other, 'I am going your 
way.' His friend went onward, out of his own way, with Paul to 
Limehouse, whiling the distance by prophetical encomiums upon Paul's 
tragedy, 'The Heroine of the Cave.' He then brought him back to 
Carpenter's, in Covent Garden, at three o'clock in the morning ; when, 
after drinking some coffee and punch, a new departure was taken, with 
' Good Morning, Paul ; I am going to the Blue Boar, Holborn.' 
'Well, says Hiffernan, 'that is in my way.' He at last took his leave, 
after seeing' his friend pass the gate of the hotel, at five in the morning ; 
and afterwards walked leisurely home to his lodgings in College-street, 
Westminster, next door to the hatter, where he died about 1780." 

Rose's Biogt'apJiical Dictionary says of him that " though 
acquainted with P"oote, Garrick, Goldsmith, Murphy, Kelly, 
and others, he yet seldom appeared decently respectable ; 
and so great were his eccentricities that he never would 
mention where his lodgings were. He died June, 1777, 
and it was then discovered that he had lodged in one of the 
obscure courts near St. Martin's-lane." Mr. Walcott must 

* Hutton's Literary Landmarks of London. 

t Sir Charles Dilke's Memoir of his grandfather, Mr. C. W. Dilke, prefaced 
to Papers of a Critic, 

410 Streets and places. 

have made a mistake, for the foregoing is confirmed by 
articles in the European Magazine, Vol. XXV, pp. no, 179, 
and by Baker's Biograpliica Dramatica— 

" In short, with no princ p es and slender abihties, he was perpetually 
disgracing literature, which he was doomed to follow for bread, by 
such a conduct as was even unworthy of the lowest and most contemp- 
tible of the vulgar. His conversation was highly offensive to decency 
and good manners, and after an irregular and shameful life, oppressed 
by poverty, and in the latter part of it by disease, he ended a miserable 
existence in June, 1777." His Theory on the Art of Acting is only to 
be remembered for its eccentricity. It concludes— 

" Farewell, ye cauliflowers on the proud tops 

Of brimming tankards, I never more shall see — 

Hard— Hard fate 1" 

The following notices are quoted from the Gentleman s 
Maga.ziue : — 

July 8th, iSoS- At his house in College-street, Westminster, 
aged (Si. Col. Teesdale. 

JO May, 1S06. In his 79th year, Mr. Thomas Lambert, of College- 
street, Westminster : well known to the inhabitants, but more 
particularly to those of the parish of St. John, where he had 
filled an official situation, for 28 years, with such exemplary 
faith and regularity as to cause the gentlemen of that parish, 
in his decline of life, to withdraw him from their employ, with 
a suitable provision during its remainder. He assisted as an 
attendant at Westmmster abbey on the coronation of his 
Majesty : and had lived upwards of 49 years in one house. 

Feb. 26, iSjo. In College-street, Westminster, aged 63, Mr, 
Wilham Ginger, bookseller to Westminster School, and a 
member of the Court of Assistants of the Stationers' Com- 
pany ; and son of Mr. William Ginger, who preceded him in 
the same business, and died in 1803. A third generation now 

The historian of Westminster School Past and Present 

(1883) says: — "The last of the Gingers died a few years 

ago. The family were the school booksellers for nearly a 

century." Theirs must have been a lucrative business, for 

the same writer tells us " Quill pens only were used in the 

school, and it was an established custom never to use a pen 

on two occasions. An exercise written, the pen was thrown 

on the ground. Little round glass ink-bottles, with a piece 

of cotton wool in the centre, were used by all the boys. 

Diversions of Mother Grant's boarders. 4 1 1 

These were called ' dips,' and could be carried two or three 
together in one pocket. The only paper used for school 
purposes was in single sheets of a small quarto size, called 
' quarterns.'" 

The curious visitor to Great College-street may have 
often remarked that Abbot Littlington's wall has been at 
some recent time heightened by several feet of brick 
work, with a by no means elegant fringe of broken glass on' 
top ; and the enquiry may well have suggested itself, 
Why this bizarre, not to say unseemly, addition ? This 
explanation is afforded by Lord Albemarle in his Fifty 
Years of my Life. The noble author (who was born 1799) 
entered Westminster School 1809- 10, and left in the 
memorable year 181 5, under the following amusing circum- 
stances as told by himself: — 

Passing through Dean's Yard from the north, you come upon Great 
College-street — a single row of shabby-looking houses facing a stone wall 
which Dr. Stanley, the Dean, tells me was built by Abbot Livingstone* 
in the reign of Edward the Third, at the same time as the Jerusalem 
Chamber and the College Hall. But the wall, ancient though it be, 
has less of personal interest to me than the modern superstructure by 
which it is now surmounted. 

When I first went to Westminster a lamp iron was fixed in the wall, 
of which the use— at least the only one to which I saw it applied — was 
to enable Mother Grant's boarders to let themselves down into 
College-street after lock-up hours. I took kindly to the prevailing- 
fashion, and the school authorities — not wise in their generation — 
rendered it still easier to follow, by allowing a building to abut on the 
inside wall. 

But on my return to school after the Bartlemy-tide holidays in 18 14, 
I found that the wall had been considerably raised, and the top covered 
with broken glass-bottles which remain to the present day. 

How to circumvent the enemy was the question. I took into my 
counsel the school Crispin, one Cobbler P'oot by name, an old man-of- 
war's man, and he made for me a rope ladder, a " Jacob's ladder," I 
think they call it, similar to that made for ascending- the sides of ships 
of small burden. Thus provided, I climbed the wall with much less 
risk to my neck than via the lamp iron. 

On the i8th of March, 181 5, on my return from the play, the scaling 
apparatus was all ready for me at the street side of Abbot Livingstone's 
wall, but great was my disgust, when on reaching my room I found the 

* Sic. Read Littlinsrtoit, 

412 Stircts and places. 

lay figure which I had left in my bed to personate me in my absence, 
lying piecemeal on the floor ; my escapade was no longer a secret to 
the authorities. 

The next morning when I went into school, I was sorely puzzled at 
the silence in which so serious a breach of discipline seemed to be 
passed over. The mystery was solved next day. A letter from my 
father informed me that my school-days had come to an end ; enclosed 
was one from Dr. Page to him, dissuading him from thinking any more 
of a learned profession for me, and recommending him to choose one 
in which physical rather than mental exertion would be a recjuisite. 

The sleepy old-town quietness of this street, and those 
in the immediate vicinity (Barton-street, Cowley-street, 
North-street, Smith-square, &c.) has perhaps been remarked 
by every stranger who has suddenly found himself in it, 
after the bustle of Parliament-square and Millbank, or the 
squalid appearance of Tufton and Marsham-streets close 
by. Lord Beaconsfield has remarked it in one of his novels 
(see page 46), and Mr. Percy Fitzgerald, in Picturesque 
London (1890), has done full justice to the vivid Rembrandt- 
like contrast of the street to its immediate surroundings — ■ 
contrasts, be it said, in which London abounds, and affords 
attraction to the American or foreign visitor : — 

On passing out at the other end of Dean's Yard we find ourselves 
in a tranc[uil old fashioned street. College street. This might be a 
portion of a close in an old cathedral, so placid and silent is it ; the 
houses being of that small, unpretending order in which canons and 
choristers might reside. There are carved doorways, there is cheerful 
red-brick, while a few houses are overgrown from top to bottom with 
a rich clothing of greenery. At the end we have a glimpse of the river 
and barges passing lazily by. In front stretches the old cobble wall of 
the Abbey gardens, full of old trees .... The district round 
seems to partake of this conventual and retiring character. 

Walcott dates his History of St. Margaret's Church 

(1847),. and his A/euioria/s (i84g), from 7, Great College-street. 

Mackenzie Edward Charles Walcott, B.D., F.S.A., the 

historian /«r exxellence of Westminster, was the only son of 

Admiral J. E. Walcott, and was born at Bath, 1822, and 

educated at Winchester, and Exeter College, Oxford. He 

was for some j^ears curate of St. Margaret's, then evening 

lecturer at St. James', Piccadilly, and minister of Berkeley 

TJie Rev. Mackenzie Walcott. 4 1 3 

Chapel, Mayfair, from 1867 to 1870. Mr. Walcott was the 
author of a large number of antiquarian and ecclesiological 
works. In addition to these may be mentioned — Handbook 
for St. J antes ^ William of WykeJiani and His Colleges, 
CatJiedralia, Sacred Arc/ueology, History of Battle Abbey, 
&c., &c. Several volumes of MS. materials collected by 
him for a history of cathedrals and conventual foundations in 
England, are preserved in the British Museum. He died at 
his residence in Belgrave-road, 22nd December, 1880. 

Another celebrated antiquarian, who lived at one time 
in College-street, was William John Thoms, the founder 
and editor of that most delightful medium of intercom- 
munication for literary men and general readers, the ever- 
green Notes and Queries. Mr. Thoms, was born on Nov- 
ember 1 6th, 1803, in this street. The late Mr. T. C. Noble, 
in a paper to Notes and Queries oi October 17th, 1885, has 
disclosed the fact that the register of his baptism in St. 
Margaret's Church, December 15th, 1803, originally 
recorded his name as simply " John Thoms, son of 
Nathaniel by Ruth Ann, [born] November 16." This 
curious error was corrected in 1857 by a sworn affidavit 
made by his aunt, Mary Ann Thoms, spinster. The 
declaration made June 2nd, states that " my late brother 
the said Nathaniel Thoms and his wife Ruth Ann Thoms 
had issue of their marriage only one child, my nephew, 
William John Thoms, now of No. 25, Holy well-street, 
Millbank, Westminster, who was born on the i6th day of 
November, 1803, that I was present at his baptism at St. 
Margaret's Church, on the 15th day of December, following, 
that I stood godmother to my said nephew, who was 
baptised by the name of William John, and that he has 
ever since been called and known as William John Thoms, 
and I make this declaration for the purpose of correcting the 
erroneous entry in the register of baptisms at St Margaret's, 
Westminster. . . ." Mr. Thoms, whom Westminster 
can therefore claim as its own, began active life as a clerk 

4 1 4 Streets and places. 

in the secretary's office, Chelsea Hospital. He was elected 
in 1838 a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and in the 
same year became secretary of the Camden Society, a 
post he held until 1873. During many years he held an 
appointment in the House of Lords, and in 1863 was 
appointed deputy-librarian of the House of Lords, a position 
he resigned in consequence of old age in 1882. The first 
number of Notes and Queries was published Nov. 3, 1849 ; 
Mr. Thoms has himself in vols. VI. and VH. of the Fifth 
Series, left on record the circumstances under which the 
periodical was conceived, named, and started. A sound 
and accurate scholar, the close friend during more than half a 
century of the best English and foreign men of letters, 
Mr. Thoms had in an eminent degree the serviceable gift of 
knowing where information was to be found. He was 
before all things a student ; the stores of his admirably 
furnished mind were at the service of anyone engaged in 
earnest work ; but he was retiring in nature, little given to 
promiscuous hospitality, and little addicted to the life of 
clubs. Mr. Thoms was elected a Vestryman of St. John's 
in April, 1852, when he was living in Great College-street 
in the house occupied by Nathaniel Thoms before him. 

Among the proofs of his happiness in hitting on names 
may be cited his choiceof ' Notes and Queries,' his invention 
of the word ' folk-lore,' and his application to the church- 
yard of the term ' God's acre,' taken from the German, 
and immediately seized upon by the public. Mr. Thoms 
died at his house in St. George's-square, Belgrave-road, 
on Saturday, August 15th, 1885, in the 82nd year of his age.* 
Notes and Queries was bought by Sir C. W. Dilke, about 
August, 1872. All antiquarians must most heartily endorse 
the words Mr. Thoms himself used at the commencement 
of the Sixth Series — " Long may my offspring occupy the 
position which it so worthily fills ; and long may the con- 

* Notes and Queries, Aug. 22, 1885. 

The Wesley s. 4 1 5 

tributors to dear old N. & Q. greet each new series as 
I do this, Floreat ! Floreat ! Floreat ! " 

Little College Street — was formerly known as 
" Pipe's or Piper's-ground." Seymour, in 1735, mentions 
that it then consisted of " a few houses built, the rest lying 

The London home of the brothers Wesley after they 
had left Oxford, was at the house of the Rev. Mr. Hutton, 
in Little College-street, where he took Westminster boys 
to board. He was a non-juring clergyman, who had 
resigned his living because he could not take the oaths on 
the accession of George I. Mr. Benham in his life of 
Hutton, says that Samuel Wesley lived next door, but he 
heads his letters ' Dean's-yard.' Samuel Wesley was an 
usher of the school for nearly 20 years and a candidate for 
the under-mastership, but he lost it through his fidelity to 
Atterbury. His brother Charles was also educated at 
Westminster, and James Hutton (171 5 — -1795) who had 
also been a Westminster scholar, went to visit some of his 
old schoolfellows at Oxford not long before the Wesleys 
sailed for Georgia. He thus met Charles Wesley, who 
introduced him to John.* It was John Wesley who 
introduced young Hutton in 1738 to Peter Bohler, then on 
his way with two friends from Germany to Georgia, and 
Hutton thenceforth inclined to Moravianism.f A lodging 
was found for the German friends near Mr. Hutton's. On 
Charles Wesley's return from Georgia in December, 1736, 
James Hutton sought him out and took him to his 
father's house in College-street. "My reception," he writes, 

* John Wesley was educated at the Charterhouse, not at Wesminster. 

t John Wesley tried in vain to induce Hutton to follow his example, but he 
continued an active Moravian till his death, although he and Wesley became 
reconciled in after life. "Pray," Lord Shelborne once asked him, " on what 
footing are you with the methodists? ' "They X^V/t us whenever they can," 
answered Hutton. George HL, the Queen, and Dr. Franklin were among 
his acquaintance. He may be called the founder of the Moravian Church in 
England. He died on May 3, 1795, at O.xted-cottage, near Godstone, Surrey, 
where he had lived for nearly two years with the Misses Biscoe and Shelley. 

41 6 Streets (Did places. 

" was such as I expected from a family that entirely loved 
me, but had given me over for dead, and bewailed me as 
their own child." When John returned to England in 1738 
he also found a home at Mr. Hutton's. Charles Wesley 
greatly offended Mrs. Hutton in May of the same year, by 
preferring to lodge with Bray, the brazier of Little Britain, 
rather than in College-street. She wrote to Samuel Wesley 
at Tiverton " Mr. Charles went from my son's [the book- 
seller's shop west of Temple Bar] where he lay ill for some 
time, and would not come to our house, but chose to go 
to a poor brazier's in Little Britain, that that brazier might 
help him in his conversion." 

Gayfere, the Abbey mason, and an active participator in 
parochial affairs, also lived in Little College-street. He 
restored Henry the Seventh's Chapel, 

COLLEGE-COURT. — " From his house in College-court, on 
May 13, 1703, Edward Jones, Lord Bishop of St. Asaph, 
was borne to his long home in the chancel of St. Margaret's 
Church" (Walcott). A plan given in Smith's Antiquities, 
engraved from a drawing possessed by the Commissioners 
of Westminster Bridge, and taken between 1734 and 1738, 
shows College-court as a narrow court lying between Great 
Smith-street and Dean's-yard. It led out from some 
stabling, to which access was obtained from Dean's-yard, 
into " Smith-street." 

Seymour (1735), after describing Dean's-yard, says: — 

And on the north side is a Place called the Stable-yards, at the 
entrance into which are good houses, but that part leading to Orchard- 
street, is taken for stabling and coach-houses, but near the entrance is 
a new built Court, called College-court, with Handsome genteel 
Houses, with a Freestone Pavement, which hath a thoroughfare 

The name of DouGLAS-STREET has no reference whatever 
to Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, the Bell-the-Cat of 
Scott's Marmion. Canon William Douglas (1807) gave 
the street its name. 

Douglas-street was on both sides of Vincent-.square (that 

Removal of the Parish pound. 417 

is, it extended from Rochester-row to Regency-street, but 
was divided by Vincent-square until 1889, when the small 
part between Rochester-row and Vincent-square was re- 
named Walcott-street. In Douglas-street are Douglas-place 
and Douglas-gardens. The houses in this street were 
re-numbered in 1876-7. 

Earl-street. — See pages 396 and 420. 

Frederick-street. — See page 397. 

Fynes-street — a short street connecting Vincent- 
square and Regency-street, is named after Charles Fynes 
Clinton, Canon Prebendary of the Abbey in 1788, and 
Rector of St. Margaret's in 1796. 

That Garden-street, Vauxhall-bridge-road, was so 
named because built on a market garden, may perhaps be 
accepted without much cavil. There is also a Garden- 
place in Bell-street. 

Grey Coat-place — and Grey Coat-street derive their 
name from Queen Anne's really noble foundation of the 
Grey Coat Hospital, of which some account is given in 
Chapter XV. Grey Coat-place faces the school, which is 
flanked on the west side by Grey Coat-street, and on the 
east by the Horseferry-road. In the wide space at the 
junction of Old Rochester-row and Rochester-row,once stood 
the parish Pound-house, a carpenter's shop, and a fine old tree. 
The buildings — Pound-place — were removed, and the site 
added to the public highway in 1864-5. Mill's-buildings, 
Brunswick-row and Pond-court (now called Bond-court) 
are on the north side of Grey Coat-place. 

Grosvenor-ROAD — has been already dealt with in a 
preceding chapter. The houses were re-numbered in 1878. 
In 1888 Devon-place (that part of Grosvenor-street which 
comes out of Page-street) was incorporated with Grosvenor- 

The Horseferry-road has been called ' that ancient 
Cc^useway,' and with reason, for the ' road to the Ferry ' 

4 1 8 Streets and places. 

must have been almost coeval with the ferry itself. For 
centuries it was nothing more than a track for horsemen 
and pedestrians to and from the ferry-boat. The cart- 
track was full of ruts and holes, and well-nigh impassable 
in wet weather, and it was a route that was fraught with 
danger to the wayfarer so soon as dusk set in. Highway- 
men and sanctuary ruffians would here lie in wait for any 
who might be so foolhardy as to attempt to pass along the 
solitary road alone or unarmed. Within the present 
century the site of the Gas Light and Coke Co.'s offices 
was occupied by a well-known market garden ; and a tea- 
garden, graced with tall poplars, which once existed here, is 
still perpetuated in the name of the public-house, ' The 
White Horse and Bower,' at the corner of Monck-street. 
But perhaps the most historic place of public call was the 
' Old King's Head.' A newly-constructed house at the 
corner of Earl-street still bears the old sign and the date 
1645. A hostelry is considered to have been first 
erected here — perhaps a mere wooden shant}' — for the 
accommodation of ferry passengers, about the same time 
as the Parliament built the wooden guard -house at the 
ferry for the scrutiny and detention of " malignants." At 
the time of the Restoration, the wayside inn first obtained, 
with many hundred others throughout the country, its sign 
of the ' King's Head.' To this house it is generally sup- 
posed that, in the dark hours of the morning of the 9th 
December, 1688, de Lauzun and Sir Edward Hales called 
for lights to conduct them to the swollen river when the 
Queen of James H. and her infant son fled the country. 

Market-street — extended from Johnson-street to the 
Horse-ferry. In 1865 it was incorporated with the Horse- 
ferry-road. It derived its name from the right of holding 
" one market at Touthall every Monday ; and one fair to be 
held annually in the same place, on the Eve Day, and day 
following St. Mary Magdalene," which was granted by 
King Henry HI., in a charter to the Abbot and Convent. 

Four ships on dry land. 419 

The history of this fair will be found at page 265. Seymour 
says of it (1735) " Market-street falls into the Mill-bank, 
and is but ordinary." The rate-book for 1782, for St. 
John's parish, shows a — 

Mr. Gayfere to be rated for " a house and two fields " in Market- 
street, ^40 ; also Josh- Saunders "for a field" in the same 
street, at ^20 ; and Wm- Barrow "for a house and two fields" 
in the same street at ^60. 

The Order of the Metropolitan Board (6th Jan., 1865) 
which incorporated Market-street, also abolished the sub- 
sidiary names of Cobourg-terrace (five houses counting from 
Tufton-street, now 64-72, Horseferry-road), Cobourg-row 
(three houses, now 74-78, Horseferry road), and Romney- 
terrace, from Monck-street to Arneway-street ; and on the 
south side, Grosvenor-terrace, six houses from Broadwood's 
to Regent-place. 

Ship-court is a narrow lane connecting Horseferry-road 
and Bell-street. The ' Ship ' for some reason or other, not 
now traceable, appears to have been a favourite sign in 
Westminster; there are now no less than four public-houses 
bearing this sign within ' our parish.' Cottage-place was 
the name of the houses on the north side until 1883. In 
this place are a few two-roomed cottages, with small fore- 
courts, in which attempts are made in the summer season 
to cultivate a few of the hardier flowers. One of these small 
gardens is noticeable as containing a well-grown fig-tree 
and a common grape-vine roughly trained over a rude 
seat, so that the occupier is able to sit at once "under his 
vine and under his fig-tree." 

A Ship-court in York-street, St. Margaret's parish, was 
re-named Kifford-court in 1888, in order to avoid confusion 
with this court. 

Grub-street — Fame, though it " hath a thousand 
several tongues," has not one to spare for the brave retreat 
in the Horseferry-road bearing the euphonistic name of 

4 20 Strccfs and places. 

Grub ! In the words of Pope, the compiler of these 
discursive pages hopes that each gentle reader — 

«._ from all Grub-street will my fame defend." 

Sat. I. 

York-buildings is a narrow court on the east side of 
Grub-street, now closed as unfit for human habitation. 

Champion's-alley and Carpenter-street run parallel to 
Grub-street, between Romncy-street and Horseferry-road. 

J01IN.SON-STREET — is named after the Alderman and 
Churchwarden {see page 151) who built this and other 
streets in the vicinity. Appropriately enough there is a 
' Paviors' Arms ' in this street. 

Laundry-YARD — may be allowed to explain its deriva- 
tion for itself; its inhabitants possess a natural and native 
eloquence all their own. To quote Pope's ludicrous 
imitation of Spenser: — 

There oft are heard the notes of infant woe. 
The short thick sob, loud scream, and shriller squall : 
How can ye, mothers, vex your children so ? 
Some play, some eat, some nestle by the wall, 
And as they crouchen low, for bread and butter call. 

At every door are sunburnt matrons seen, 

Now singing shrill, and scolding eft between 

— Scolds answer foul-mouth'd scolds ; bad neighbourhood I ween I 

Cooke's Local Directory 1847, mentions a Derby-place, 

LiLLiNGTON-STREET. — Lillington is the name of a parish 
and town adjoining Leamington in Warwickshire. 

Marsham-street, Earl-street, Romney-street — 
were all named after Charles Marsham, Earl of Romney 
(creat. 1801), the owner of the property. The noble family 
of Marsham trace themselves to a man whose chief dis- 
tinction it was that he was one of the most eminent scholars 
of his age, as the founder of their hereditary honours. 
John Marsham was one of six sons and four daughters of a 
London alderman. Born in 1602, he went from West- 
minster School to St. John's College, Oxford, in 1619. 

Robert, Earl of Marshmn. 42 1 

The subject to which his mind was particular!)- directed is 
one of pecuHar intricac}- and difficult}- — the disentanglement 
of the conflicting statements in early writers concerning 
ancient d}'nasties and events in the earliest periods of history. 
This learned chronologist published Chroniciis Cation 
^■Egvptiaciis, Ebraicus, ct Grcrcus in 1672, the work for which 
he is most celebrated. He was knighted, and afterwards 
created a baronet (1663) at the Restoration. He died 25th 
Ma}-, 1685. The famil}- took its name from possessions 
at Marsham, in Norfolk, circa 1 100. Sir John was not only 
learned himself, but his two sons. Sir John Marsham of 
Cuxton and Sir Robert Marsham of Bush}-, were also 
studious and learned men. The son of Sir Robert was 
created Baron Romne}- b}" King George I. in the second 
}'ear of his reign (17 16). According to Dod's Peerage, the 
first peer represented Maidstone in several parliaments ; 
and the third earl sat for West Kent. The earldom dates 
from 1 80 1. 

Marsham-street is described b}^ Seymour, who wrote in 
1735, as being "long and straight, with good buildings well 
inhabited ; it comes out of Peter-street, and falls into the 
road which leads to the Horse-ferr}'." 

Earl-street — is a continuation of Marsham-street 
from the opposite side of Horseferr}--road, across Page- 
street to Vincent-street. The whole of the east side of it 
from Horseferry-road to Page street is occupied b}- the 
Westminster Brewer}'(New Westminster Brewer}- Co., Ltd.), 
On the other side were Messrs. Hadfield's marble works 
and galler}' of sculpture, established here in 1804, now the 
waste department of the Government Stationer}' depot. 

Until 1869, Romne}--street onh- extended from Marsham- 
street to Tufton-street, when Vine-street (between Tufton- 
street and Millbank) was re-named and made part of it. 
Romne}^-street proper (as it may be termed for the moment) 
is mosth' occupied on the north side by the Baptist Chapel, 

2 C 

422 Streets and places. 

and on the opposite side by the Horseferry-road Board 
School. Tripp's-buildings are also in Romney-street, on 
the north. 

ViNK-STREET — undoubtedly denoted the site of the 
vine-yard which formerly existed here, belonging to the 


" There was a garden," says Stow, " they called the Vine Garden, 
because perhaps vines anciently were there nourished, and wine made." 
It was in King Edward VI. 's time enclosed with houses and buildings. 
With a parcel of ground called the Mill-bank, valued at 58s., it was 
'given by that King, in the third year of his reign, to Joanna Smith in 
consideration of service." 

" In the overseer's book, 1565, is rated "the vyne-garden" and "myll" 
next to Bowling-alley. According to Cunningham, a house called Vine- 
yard House, Westminster, was taken by Percy, and tenanted by Guy 
Fawkes, under the name of John Johnson. Here they commenced the 
mine which connected their house with the cellars of the Houses of 
Pariiament. In the first year of Edward \\., payment was made to 
" Rich. Wolward, Keeper of the King's House at Westminster, j mark 
to repair the King s \'ineyard there." 

Seymour describes it as " a prett}' handsome open place, 
which also falls into the Millbank. On the south-side is 
Campaine-alley which goes into Market-street." The 
Vestry minutes speak of " several new houses " in this 
street in 1795. 

But the fact which gives Vine-street ' a local habitation 

and a name ' more than any other, is that Charles 

Churchill was born here in 173 1. He lived for a year too, 

in his father's house after his precipitate and improvident 

marriage with Miss Scott, when a mere lad of eighteen, 

without any means or plan of substance. 

" Famed Vine-street, 
Where Heaven, the kindest wish of man to grant. 
Gave me an old house and an older aunt." 

The satirical allusion cost the poet a legacy. 

It is regrettable that so ancient a name should hav'e been 
obliterated, as it was in 1869, by the Metropolitan Board 
of Works. From that time the name of " Romney-street " 
has been assigned to the entire length of the thoroughfare, 
which runs parallel, for a considerable distance, with the 

Mouck-strcct ; J ! liistci-s-groiind. 42 3 

portion of the Horseferrj'-road which was formerh' 
designated " Market-street." Both these thoroughfares 
join Millbank-street near Lambeth-bridge. A view of 
this part of the parish, as it was seen from the Surrey side 
of the river at the opening of the present century, is given 
on the next page. 

MONe'K-STREET — was so named at the request of the 
Vestry, in 1889, after Mr. Henry Monck, who presented in 
17 1 3 to the Past 0\"erseer's Societ)' the original oval-shaped 
Tobacco-box, made of common horn, of about three-ounce 
capacit)-, and of a portable pocket size, which he had pur- 
chased at " Horn Fair," in the village of Charlton, near 
Woolwich, for the trifling sum of 4d. {Sec page 188.) 

The Order of the Metropolitan Board of Works, dated 
1 6th April, 1889, incorporated under this name the places 
called Wiiister's or Whistler's ground and Holland- 
street. Whister's-ground, or as it appears in the old rate- 
books, Whitster's-ground, was the narrowest portion of the 
street next Great Peter-street ; Holland-street extended 
from Romney-place (a cul-de-sac ow the west side) to Horse- 
ferry-road ; it was named after Canon Holland Edwards, 
rector of ' our parish ' 1806-32. Concerning the origin of 
Whitster's-ground nothing is definitely known : it was 
probably so called after the owner who first built houses 
there, or in allusion to a business carried on there. Cooke's 
Westviinstcr Local Directory {\'6\'/) mentions " Marlboro'- 
court, 64, Great Peter-street" and "Marlboro'-place,Whister's 
ground." They were named after an old mansion called 
"Marlborough House," which was cleared away by the 
Chartered Company's Gasworks, opened in 18 16. An anony- 
mous writer in the Westminster and Pimlico News of June 29, 
1889, says that "the mansion thus finally annihilated, ap- 
peared to have sunk into disuetude in 18 13, when I lived in 
the lonely house mentioned, and was about completing my 
fourth year. The first gas-lamp lighted by way of test, to 
let the Westminsterians see what was about to come into 

2 C "^ 


Seen n cross flic river. 

North-street ; Ellis ton, the actor. 425 

vogue, was exhibited in the Laundry-yard, which is nearly 
opposite St. Ann's-street ; but it had been prudently 
ruled that I should not quit my quiet abode for the purpose 
of witnessing- it, for fear of being knocked down by the 
surging multitude." 

The name of Ni:w-STREET f Vincent-square) may have 
been appropriate enough when it was first built, but it is 
certainly out of all keeping in the year 1892. Its builder 
sadly lacked invention. But, as Tennyson says, " common 
is the common-place." 

North-street — extends from the north end of St. 
John's Church to Wood-street, opposite the entrance to 
Cowley-street. A stone tablet at the north-east corner 
with Wood-street bears the date 1725. This street, and, in 
fact, all those in the vicinit}', were at one time inhabited by 
well-born and distinguished people. At No. 13 lived 
Robert William Elliston, the great actor (though he was 
but a little man), who so took " Elia's " fancy. Born 7th 
April, 1774, he first appeared at Bath in 1791. Coming to 
London in 1796, he became in a few years the lessee and 
manager of Drury-lane and the Olympic theatres. 
Elliston was alike clever in comedy and tragedy, although 
perhaps he excelled in the former. But the chief charm of 
the actor to Charles Lamb was his completely histrionic 
character. Although " Elia " says that his " acquain- 
tance with the pleasant creature" was but slight, his 
Ellistoiiiana is full of anecdote upon the actor's 
egotistical idiosyncras}'. " To descant upon his merits as 
a comedian would be superfluous," writes Lamb. "With his 
blended private and professional habits alone I have to do ; 
that harmonious fusion of the manners of the player into 
those of every-day life, which brought the stage-boards into 
streets and dining-parlours, and kept up the play when the 
play was ended. . . . And in truth, this was the charm of 
Elliston's private deportment. You had spirited per- 
formances al\va\'S o-oinG: on before vour eves, with nothing 

426 St/rc/s ami places. 

to pay. As where a monarch takes up his casual abode for 
a nii;ht, the poorest hovel which he honours by his sleeping 
in it, becomes ipso facto for that time, a palace; so whenever 
Elliston walked, sat, or stood still there was the theatre. 
He carried about with him his pit, boxes and galleries, and 
set up his portable playhouse at corners of streets, and in 
the market-places. Upon flintiest pavements he trod the 
boards still; and if his theme chanced to be passionate, the 
green baize carpet of tragedy spontaneously rose beneath 
his feet. Now this was hearty, and showed a love for his 

art ' But there is something not natural in this 

everlasting acting; we want the real man.' Are you sure 
that it is not the man himself? What if it is the nature of 
some men to be highly artificial ? The fault is least 
reprehensible in /An'tvx Cibber was his own Toppington, 
with as much wit as Vanbrugh could add to it." This con- 
summate actor and delightful 'character' died 7th July, 1831. 

At the last house in this street, on the east side, lodged 
Dr. Coleridge in 1824, before he proceeded to the Barbadoes 
as Bishop. In this street also lived the mother of Dr. Chelsom 
(born 1740), a scholar, and afterwards usher in Westminster 
school for several years. His chief preferment was the 
rectory of Droxford, in Hants. 

Here also died, on May 20, 1802, Col. William Robert- 
son, of the "Royal Independent Invalid.s." William Capon, 
the antiquarian draughtsman, died here in 1827. Many of his 
pencil sketches of Westminster are in the Crace Collection. 

Orchard-.street- — was so called from having been 
erected on the old orchard-garden of the monastery. The 
Orchard-street of the present day— granite-paved, with 
Peabody-buildings on one hand and the backs of Victoria- 
mansions on the other — has not the remotest resemblance 
to the Orchard-street prior to the commencement of the 
Westminster Improvements in 1848. Only the name has 
survived. The street formerly extended from Dean-street 
(now Great Smith-street) in an unbroken line across 

" JVa/k a little in the orchardr 427 

Victoria-street into Great Chapel-street (St. Margaret's- 
parish), falling into that street a little to the north of Christ 
Church. Seymour describes it in 1735 as — 

"Very long, with good Buildings, which are well inhabited : on the 
North side is a Place called the Nctu IVay^ which has houses on the 
West side, the east being Sir Robert Pye's garden wall." 

Here lived the humourist Thomas Amory, author of the 
Life 0/ John Buncle, published 1756-66, and other singular 
works. He was born about 1691, the son of Counsellor 
Amory, who was appointed secretary for the forfeited 
estates in Ireland by William HI. Thomas, who was of 
an eccentric character, lived here the life of a recluse, only 
venturing out occasionally in the evening. He died 25th 
November, 1788, at the ripe age of 97. We read in the 
Gentleman's Magazine of another instance of longevity in 
this street. On the 15th October, 1793, ^ Mrs. Parker, 
widow, died here, who had just entered the looth year of 
her age, having been born October ist, 1694. 

Cottage-court, New-square, and Union-place are 
mentioned in Cooke's Local Directory (1847) as being in 
this street. 

The Crace Collection of Prints in the British Museum 
contains an amusing lithograph reproduction of a picture 
at one time in the possession of Mr. William Collins, of 
Tothill-fields, entitled " The Sugar Hogshead." It shows 
an old-fashioned grocer's shop situated at a street-corner in 
Orchard-street, Westminster. Outside the bay-windowed 
shop front is a hogshead (it is much too wide for removal 
into the shop) which has evidently only recently been 
emptied of its saccharine contents, for a number of juvenile 
residents are disporting themselves inside, outside, and 
round about the relic of not yet departed sweetness, all 
oblivious to coming dangers. The irate proprietor has just 
sallied forth and is in the act of administering ' the cut 
direct ' to one urchin whose anatomy is invitingly poised 
for the purpose. The sign of the ' Sugar Loaves ' hangs at 

428 Streets and places. 

the corner of the house, where a lamp-hi;hter, furnished with 
his can of oil, is busily occupied in replenishing" the supply 
at the miserable lamp for the night, — an operation which 
does not interfere, however, with his evident enjoyment of 
the moving drama that is being enacted immediately be- 
neath him. 

The same superb collection has also a wood-cut of "John 
Wesley's House in Orchard-street, pulled down in 1851." 
The house was in the occupation of a sweep at the time 
the sketch was taken. 

VValcott tells us that in Orchard-street was held the first 
school established by the " National Society for the Educa- 
tion of the Poor in the Principles of the PLstablished 
Church." until, with the first grant (^.'500) that was voted 
for the institution, the new building was commenced in the 
Broad Sanctuary, upon a valuable site given by the Commis- 
sioners of Woods and Forests. Although H.R.H. the Duke 
of York laid the foundation stone on 21st Jul}-, icSi4, }-et 
within four months (on 23rd November following) the 
children were removed to their new schools, which cost 
;^5,ooD. The educational movement is further noticed in 
chapter XV". 

The " New Way " ran due north from Orchard-street 
into the Almonry (which lay behind the houses on the 
south side of Tothill-street) nearly opposite the entrance 
to Peabody-buildings. 

Hereabouts the old Westminster streets were so narrow, 
says John Timbs, that opposite neighbours might shake 
hands out of the windows. The knot of wretched lanes and 
alleys in the Almonr)% Orchard-street, Duck-lane, &c., 
happily cleared away for the formation of Victoria-street, 
and the erection of lofty blocks of mansions and Peabody- 
buildings, was known as " the Desert of Westminster," 
where all sorts of criminals and ruffians easily evaded the 
Bow-street runners. 

George Peabody was a descendant of the Pilgrim Fathers. 

The Pcabody Trust. 4^9 

of a famil)' formerly settled in Leicestershire, and was born 
at Danvers, Massachusetts, U.S., Feb. i8, 1795, where he 
was afterwards apprenticed to a grocer. He came to 
England in 1837, and established himself in London as a 
merchant and mone}--broker in 1843. He undertook at his 
own cost the arrangement of the United States department 
at the great exhibition of 1851 ; and he contributed to Dr. 
Kane's expedition in search of Sir John Franklin in 1852. 
Fie founded the Danvers Institute, and gave upwards of 
i,"ioo,ooo for a similar purpose in Maryland. On retiring 
from business uith a large fortune in 1862, he presented 
the city of London, in a letter dated March 12, with his first 
munificent sum of ;^ 150,000, to be applied to the purpose 
of assisting the working-classes by the erection of com- 
fortable and convenient lodging-houses. In 1866 he gave 
£100,000; in 1868, iJ' 1 00,000 ; and in 1873, ^^150,000; 
making" a total of £500,000 ; to which has been added 
mone}' received for rent and interest, £553,105 6s. 6d., 
bringing up the total of the Peabody Fund on the 31st 
December last (1891) to £1,053,105 6s. 6d. The present 
trustees are the Right Hon. the Earl of Derby, K.G. 
(chairman); His Excellency the United States Minister; 
Sir George Lampson, Bart. ; the Right Hon. George Cubitt, 
M.P. (recently raised to the Peerage as Lord Ashcombe) ; 
E. A. Hambro, Esq. ; W. H. Burns, P^sq. 

From the twenty-seventh annual report (1891) of the 
Trustees of the Peabody Donation Fund, we further learn 
that the capital expenditure on lands and buildings to the 
end of the year 1 89 1 was £1,233,904 13s. 9d., that 11,273 
rooms, besides laundries, bath-rooms, &c., have been pro- 
vided for artizans and the labouring poor of London, and 
that the net gain of the year, from rents and interest 
was £29,659 4s. 7d. The first block of buildings \\as 
opened in Spitalfields in 1864. The substantially 
constructed buildings in Orchard-street were opened 
in 1882, Rochester-buildings in Old Pve-street had 

430 Streets a^id places. 

been previously taken over from the Westminster Men's Club 
and Lodging-house, of which an account is given in Old and 
New London, Vol. IV., p. 39. 

The great philanthropist died November 4th, 1869, in 
Eaton-square, in the house of Sir Curtis Lampson, Bart, 
whose son is a present Trustee. 

Pear-street — the narrow passage leading from Old 
Pye-street into Strutton-ground is another memorial of 
the orchard belonging to the old monastery. Tradition 
has it that a fine pear-tree once stood here. The street 
existed in Strype's time, for he describes it as " narrow 
and short, which comes out of Stretton-grounds, and falls 
into Duck-lane." 

Page-.street — was named after Dr. William Page, head- 
master of Westminster School, who succeeded Dr. Carey 
in 1 8 14. He was educated at Westminster School and 
was appointed undermaster in 1802. To his classical pen 
the school was indebted for most of the prologues, &c., 
written between the years 1802 and 18 19, in which year he 
died. He must have done good service in the school, says 
Mr. F. H. Forshall * of him, for upon his death more than 
ten thousand pounds were raised by old Westminsters for 
the assistance of his family, who were left in straitened 

Until 1864 Page-street only extended from Regency- 
street to Kensington-place. Then, by an order of the 
Metropolitan Board of Works, dated 22nd January, Holy- 
well-street (from Kensington-place to Millbank) was in- 
corporated and made part of Page-street, which now there- 
fore reaches from Regency-street to the Grosvenor-road. 
Here again as with Vine-street, and Bowling-street (which 
preserved the memory of the old places upon the sites of 
which they had been built), we have to deplore the extinction 
of the more ancient name, for ' Holywell' would seem to point 
to the existence within the Abbey precincts of some 

'' IVcstininstcr School, Fasi and Present, p. 316. 

The Peter-streets. 431 

bubbling spring, with reputed virtues for the cure of those 
who in simple faith would litter with their poor offerings — 

" The slabbed margin of a well 
Whose patient level peeped its crystal eye 
Right upward, through the bushes, to the sky." 

Fitzstephen (died about 1190), Thomas a Becket's 
trusted clerk, tells us that there were about London, on the 
north side, excellent suburban springs, with sweet, whole- 
some and clear water. There were several " Holy wells " 
about London ; but all trace of this particular one must 
have early disappeared, for no allusion to it can any- 
where be met with. 

Thoms, the antiquarian, was living at No. 25, Holy well- 
street in 1857. See page 413. 

In Page-street are the extensive premises of Messrs. 
Broadwood & Son, the world-famed pianoforte manufac- 
turers — a celebrated Westminster firm which dates its 
foundation from 1732. 

Peter-streets (Great and Little). — Peter-street, St. 
Peter-street, Great St. Peter-street, or as its name now 
rests, Great Peter-street, bear the name of the Patron 
Saint of the Abbey. In the troublous times of the Civil 
War it was plain " Peter " for the Roundheads, and " Saint 
Peter " for the Cavalier. This thoroughfare is an ancient 
one. Walcott mentions that upon the front of a house in 
it, facing Leg-court, is the following inscription, rudely cut: — 
" This is Sant Peter Street, 1624, R. [a heart] W." The 
house and stone are still existing — Xo. 5 1 on the south 
side ; but Leg-court opposite has disappeared to make 
room for Peabody-buildings. Strype and Sejmiour thus 
describe it a hundred years later : — 

" /"t'/tv-jV/vt'/, very long and indititerent broad, especially that part 
next to Tothill-ficlds, from which it passes by Duck-tane and falls into 
Wood-street., and thence to the Milt-baiik j and on the south side it 
receives these Places, \iz., Horn-court^ To!upk:ins'-yard, Moors-yard., 
and Laundress-alley ; all of ordinary Account." 

43:^ Streets ami places. 

In tlic Goitleiiiaiis Magar.ine of July, i8oi, we read of 
the death of a Mrs. Payne, baker, of Peter-street, West- 
minster : — 

She was a very singular character ; her cloathing was in genera 
truly eccentric ; her outside habit chiefly consisted of a blanket made 
in the shape of a morning-gown. She was extremely saving in her 
diet, almost subsisting on the raspings of her customers' loaves ; yet, 
notwithstanding, she was very charitable to the poor. She persisted 
in sitting in her shop to the last moment of her existence, and expired 
under her counter, aged 88. 

On the south side of Great Peter-street, from the western 
end, are " Bull's Head "-court, "Blue Anchor "-court, New 
Peter-street (now Chadwick-street), PLlizabeth-place, Monck- 
street (formerly Whister's ground and Marlborough-house 
and square), and Laundry-}'ard ; and on the north side, St. 
Matthew-street (Duck-lane), St. Ann's-lane, Johnson's- 
court, and St. Ann's-street. 

When gas was first generally introduced (about 1812-13), 

the most absurd fears of the new illuminant were held by the 

public. An eminent engineer gravely told the House of 

Commons that the gas pipes would spread conflagration 

from house to house and street to street. The Neu's, of 

October 31, 1812, contained an account of a gas explosion 

at Great Peter-street, which, we may well suppose, did not 

tend to allay the apprehensions : — 

Oct. J/. On Monday the neighbourhood of Great Peter street, 
Westminster, was thrown into much confusion and alarm by 7i i^as Ii'g/it 
explosion, which shook the surrounding houses, broke many windows, 
and threatened to fire in e\ery direction. From all we could learn 
it appeared, that a pipe unexpectedly burst in the premises of the Gas 
Light and Coke Company. By this means much gas oozed out and 
filled the apartment ; but not calculating on this, one of the men took 
a candle and proceeded to the spot to ascertain what was the matter. 
The moment the candle was introduced, the whole of the gas that had 
escaped from the pipe burst into a flame with a dreadful explosion, as 
if fire had been communicated to a heap of gunpowder. By it this man 
was much injured, as well as two or three more of the workmen; indeed, 
it was said that two men were killed, but we do not learn that this was 
well founded. The speedy arrival of many engines, and the exertions 
within the manufactory soon got the fire under control, preventing 
it extending to the neighbouring premises. 

Ctinibcrlmid, the dramatist. 433 

Little Peter-street is spoken of in the Vestr}' minutes in 
the )'ear 1800 as "a great thoroughfare obstructed by trees, 
posts, and rails, situate in the fronts of the houses." 

Richard Cumberland yzA- (1732 — 181 1) the dramatist and 
poet, tells us in his Mauoirs of Himself that when at 
Westminster he boarded in " Peter Street, two doors from 
the turning out of College Street." Inasmuch as Peter- 
street and College-street both run east and west, it is hard 
to guess his meaning, except that by the " turning out of 
College-street " is meant Bowling-alley {i.e. Tufton-street), 
in which case the house he boarded at would have been in 
(Little) Peter-street, now Wood-street, " two doors from the 
turning." Richard Cumberland, the son of Richard 
Cumberland, Bishop of Peterborough, entered Westminster 
School when twelve years old, but at that early age was 
placed in " the Shell." He was of about the same standing 
in the school as William Burke, and Colman (the elder), 
Churchill, Warren Hastings, Harle}% Robert Lloyd, Cowper, 
Dean Vincent, Lord Shelburne, the Earl of Bristol, and Cra- 
cherodc were also schoolfellows of his — an unusualh' brilliant 
set. He was admitted to Trinit)- College, Cambridge, when 
only in his fourteenth year. In after life he became a 
\-oluminous writer — opera, comedy, tragedy, poetry (lyrical, 
sacred and occasional), novels, essa\'s, pamphlets, and even 
divinit)' — all were apparently alike to his facile pen. The 
W'/ieei of Fortune, identified with John Kemble, the West 
luitiaii, with. Moody the comedian, and Thefew,2Xi honourable 
attempt to combat popular prejudice against the Jewish 
nation, were his most effective dramatic pieces. His Essays 
and Memoirs are what he is principally known by to 
modern readers. He died 7th Ma}-, 181 1. 

PVE Streets, Old and New. — Old and New Pye-streets, 
part of which disappeared between 1848 and 1850 in the 
formation of Victoria-street, were so named after Sir Robert 
Pye, of Farrington, in Berk.s. He married Anne (not 
Mary, as given in Walcott's Memorials) the second 


Old houses in l^ve-stnet. 

Pye-street and Perkins' -rents. 435 

daughter of the great patriot John Hampden. In Purcell's 
time the neighbourhood was newly built on the edge of 
the fields, as it were, by Sir Robert, whose house stood in 
the " New Way," near the Almonry. Its site was after- 
wards occupied by the Workhouse of St. Margaret's 
parish, opposite the present Westminster Hospital. There is 
an excellent view of this workhouse in the Grace collection 
at the British Museum. Sir Robert Pye (who became, by 
his marriage, a cousin of Oliver Cromwell) was a great 
benefactor to the New Chapel in the Broadway. Besides 
giving ^500 towards the furniture of the Chapel, he settled 
by deed, March 8, 1652, eight messuages in Petty France 
upon the Chapel to maintain a minister, reserving the right 
of nomination absolutely to himself and heirs. Sir Robert 
was an ancestor of Henry James Pye, the poet laureate, 
Southey's predecessor. The latter, who was born in 174S, 
published Poems, 1787, and a translation of Aristotle's 
Poetics, 1788. He was a magistrate of Westminster, and died 
I ith August, 1 81 3. Sir Robert Pye represented Westminster 
in the time of Charles I. 

De Groot, the great-nephew of the learned Dutch states- 
man and writer, Hugh Grotius, lived here for some time. 
By the friendly intercession of Dr. Johnson he afterwards 
became admitted as a "poor brother" of the Charterhouse. 

Seymour writing in 1735 considered Pye-street, "between 
Duck-lane and great St. Ann's-lane,'' as " being better built 
than inhabited " ; and he speaks of New Pye-street as " a 
passage from Old Pye-street into Orchard-street." 

Perkin'S-RENTS — were in existence in Seymour's time. 
He thus describes them — " Perkin's -rents comes out of Pye- 
street and falls into Peter-street, a place of no account." 

In the Churchwardens' accounts for St. John's parish we 

find the following entries : — 

6th March, 1802. To the Beadle for a Jury to sit on the 
bodies of Samuel Tagg, Harriet Ludgate and 
Eleanor Shaw, killed by the falling down of the 
houses in Parkin's Rents ... ... ... ... 5s. 

436 Streets and places. 

nth March, 1S02. Paid sundry persons for digging- 
out tlic people buried in the ruins of the houses in 
Perkin's Rents, and for liquor for them ;{^3 I o 

Rkckncv Strkkt — extends from the Vauxhall-bridi^e- 
road to the Horseferr}'-road, running due north and south. 
Until 1877, it was called Regent-street, when by an Order 
of the Metropolitan Board it was renamed to distinguish it 
from tilt Regent-street. The Regency Bill was passed in 
1708, and it was in lo}'al compliment to the Prince Regent 
(afterwards George IV.), who laid the first stone of Vaux- 
hall-bridgc on the Westminster side in 181 1, that the street 
was named. The triangular space \\'here this thoroughfare 
meets the Horseferr\'-road is still known as Regent-place, 
and there is a Regent-gardens. Just opposite Chapter- 
street a narrow passage with a board crossing" it, bearing 
the grand style and title of "Regent-gardens," ma}- be per- 
ceived, and if the curious explorer pass through, he will find 
a row of small unattracti\-e cottages on either side of him, 
with morsels of gardens behind low dilapidated palings, 
where some few sickh' geraniums, Michaelmas daisies, and 
other plants make a brave struggle for life under the 
portentious fro\A-n of a huge gasometer that overlooks the 
end of the court. Another court a few yards to the south 
bears the equalh' euphonious name of Bruns\\-ick-place, 
after the exalted personage who laid the second foundation 
stone of Vauxhall-bridge, on the Surrey side in 181 3, which 
has been referred to at page 382. In the centre of Regent- 
place stood until its removal in 1868 the old fire-engine 

RiDLEV-PLACE — in Frederick-street. Henry Stephen 
Ridley was a gentleman who took an active interest as a 
representative of St. John's on the Westminster District 
Board thirt}- \-ears ago. He designed the Regent Music 
Hall, built by Mr. J. F. Shedlock, who also bore an active 
jxart in local affairs fort\- )'ears ago. 

RocilESTER-ROW — All the world knows that this impor- 

Right Reverends of Rochester. 437 

tant Westminster thoroughfare was so-called after the 
Bishops of Rochester who, by a combination which continued 
through nine successive incumbencies, united the See of 
Rochester with the Deanery of Westminster, and thus, to 
use Dean Stanley's words, " gave to that poor and neigh- 
bouring bishropric at once an income and a town residence." 
It is not known when the road was first formed — probably 
r). cai-l-way giving access to Tothill-fields from the "road 
Icaiiing Im ilie Hii|--^c l-"cn-\- " lind existed licre l"ng before 
a single house made it< H|j|jear;nice. The nr--i 1 ) 
who was also Bishop of Rochester, was John Dolben 
(1663- 1683), '^'^'ho sho\\'ed himself so valorous during the 
Civil \'\^ars at Marston Moor and at York, quite in the 
spirit of the militant princes of the church during 
the middle ages. Widmore speaks of him as an 
" extraordinary lovely person, though grown too fat ; 
of an open countenance, a lively, piercing eye, and 
a majestic presence." During the twent}' years of his 
office he was held in great esteem by the old inhabi- 
tants of Westminster, and spoken of as "a very good 
Dean." This great prelate, of whom Evelyn and Pepys 
make frequent mention, became Archbishop of York in 
1683. He died at York 1686. He was succeeded by Thomas 
Sprat (1684 — 17 1 3), the most literary Dean since the time 
of Andrewes, a ' Vicar of Bra}' ' in politics, who read James 
H.'s Declaration of Indulgence in the x'Xbbey, almost the 
onl)- church in London where it was read. The famous 
and learned Dean, Francis Atterbur}', followed. Perhaps 
no Dean of Westminster was so essentially a Westminster 
Dean. A Westminster scholar, a Westminster student at 
Christ Church, he became deeply attached in later life to 
Westminster. In the Memoirs mid Correspondence of 
Francis Atterbury, D.D. (Vol. I., p. 11), we read that 
" whilst at school young Atterbury explored the neighbour- 
hood till he had acquired a pretty accurate knowledge of 

2 V) 

438 Streets mid places, 

its attractions, familiarizing his mind with the rural 
beauties of Tothill-fields." 

His sermons in Westminster were long remembered 
(Tatlcr, No. 66) ; and his antiquarian regard for the Abbey 
and its monuments, his repairs, and his researches are 
matters for which he will be ever held in grateful recollec- 
tion by all who venerate Westminster Abbey. It is sad to 
read of his separation from his beloved haunts, but the 
Jacobite plots in the Deanery, his arrest, his defence and 
trial, his exile, and other details of his fall belong to the 
history of England, and cannot be related here. He died 
at Paris, Feb. 15, 1732. 

Next came Samuel Bradford (1723-31), the first Dean of 
the Order of the Bath ; Joseph Wilcocks (1731-56), during 
whose time Wren's towers were finished ; Zachary Pearce 
(1756-68) the only Dean who ever resigned ; the liberal 
minded John Thomas (1768-93), to whom the Handel 
Festival (1784) owes its origin, and the despotic Samuel 
Horsley (1793- 1802) ; his successor was Dr. William Vin- 
cent, with whose appointment the See of Rochester was, 
after 140 years, parted from the Deanery, to the great re- 
gret of George HI. 

It will thus be seen that the Bishops of Rochester 
were all worthy of their double office ; and it is a pity that 
the name of not a single one of them is connected with 
any street or institution in Westminster, whereas that of 
the Dean, with whom the separation of the two offices took 
place, is perpetuated in a ' square,' a ' street,' a ' place,' a 
' court,' and a ' row ' ! But perhaps the omission should 
not be wondered at when it is borne in mind that the 
name of the one Bishop of Westminster has only recently 
been given to " Thirleby-gardens," in Ashley-place. 

Rochester-row was the way by which the Pest-houses 
were reached. It may be considered as marking the 
western boundary of lothill-fields, which extended thence 
eastward to the river at Millbank, and southward from the 

Roche stcy-roio. 439 

Horseferry-road towards the low-lying neat-meadows of 
Pimlico. Down to the end of the i8th century and later 
it was only built upon on the west side, a ' row ' of small 
houses extending from the Pound-house (which stood in 
the wide part of Grey Coat-place) to Emery Hill's Alms- 
houses, erected in 1708. Emery Hill was undoubtedly a 
stout believer in fresh air, for his almspeople had an un- 
interrupted view right across Tothill-fields to the river and 
over the Lambeth marshes to the heights of Sydenham. 

A properly made-up roadway would appear to have been 
formed in 1782, for in July of that year the Paving Com- 
missioners ordered "that Rochester Row, situate in Tothill- 
fields, be immediately improved by digging a ditch about 
three feet deep, and taking away the present posts and 
rails in order to make a road to accommodate the in- 
habitants with a convenient carriageway." In October of 
the same year a proposal was made at a meeting of the 
Commissioners, on complaint of improper uses, that the 
ditch should be filled up, and a paved channel substituted 
in front of the houses from the Pound House to Emery 
Hill's almshouses ; but the Commissioners evidently not 
liking that their work should be so soon deemed a failure, 
negatived the suggestion. Nothing further was heard of 
the matter, for in 1794, the Paving Commissioners found 
this ditch " to be exceeding bad and filthy and quite filled 
owing to the gardeners' carts passing and re-passing over 
a bridge at the upper end of the row " ; when orders were 
given to have the offending ditch cleansed and the "bridge" 

The question of the right of way in Rochester-row soon 
became a matter of some contention with the inhabitants, 
both the Paving Commissioners and the Dean and Chapter 
insisting that the road was private. In 1783 public notice 
was given that the Row was "no thoroughfare for horses 
and carriages"; and in 1802 an applicant for permission 
to "bring his horses and carriages either across the fields 

2 D 2 



Streets and places. 441 

or along Rochester-row" was informed by the Paving Com- 
missioners that "Rochester l\ow is a private row for small 
carts and carriages to pass for the convenience of the 
inhabitants only, and not a public thoroughfare, and that 
the road outside the ditch in the fields belongs to the Dean 
and Chapter." Again, ten years later, in Dec. of 1 8 1 2, a Com- 
mittee reported that the posts and rails with the brick arches 
over the ditch had been taken up, and a temporary bridge 
made so as to form a public way for traffic, whereby danger 
had been occasioned. It would appear that the damage 
was done by the soldiers seeking to obtain by main force 
access to the militar}' hospital at the soutli end, which was 
erected about 1805. The matter was referred to the Dean 
and Chapter, who replied (May, 181 3) that the roadway was 
merely 'a permission wa}-,' but they admitted that the 
opening of the way would be a great public convenience. 
In 1 8 16, a memorial was received asking to have the ditch 
arched over owing to its filth}- and dangerous state. In 
Februar)', 1819, further complaints were received from the 
military authorities of difficulty in approaching the Guards' 
Hospital in consequence of the bad state of the road. An 
estimate of ^2,100 for repairing the road was rejected, and 
the Dean and Chapter were asked to reinstate the bar taken 
down, so as to stop the traffic, " as it would be entailing an 
endless burden on the parishes to suffer the road to remain 
open as a public wa)-." While, therefore, the Chapter authori- 
ties were willing to cede the user of the road, and the 
inhabitants desired it, the paving authorities were too 
alarmed at the expense of its maintenance to assume juris- 
diction. The Dean and Chapter consented to reinstate the 
bar, and provided the lessees with a key each; but in 1822, 
three years later, we find them declining to prosecute 
parties for breaking the bar down. In 18 19 the street was 
first lit with gas. 

Some idea of the condition of the roadway and of the 

442 Rflcliestej'-rozv. 

evils arising- from the multiplicity of authorities, may be 
gathered from the following circumstances : — 

In 1824-5, the solicitor to the Guards served a notice 
upon the Paving Commissioners, requiring them to repair 
the Row sufficiently to enable a hackney coach conveying 
a sick soldier to approach the Military Hospital. He was 
referred to the Governors and Directors of the Poor as the 
proper authorities. The solicitor replied, declining to be a 
party to the disputes then at issue between the Com- 
missioners and the Governors as to which body had 
jurisdiction, and subsequently summoned the former, when 
the magistrate decided against the Commissioners. Appeal 
was allowed, however, to be had, and recognisances were 
entered into, and counsel instructed. Independent sur- 
veyors \\ere called in to advise, and upon their report the 
appeal was abandoned, the road repaired, and the lamps 
which had been removed two or three years previously 
were re-instated and put into lighting. 

In the same year a Committee reported that " throughout 
the whole of Rochester-row there is a stagnant ditch, 
pregnant with danger, both to the inhabitants and 
passengers"; and in 1837 further complaints of its "shame- 
ful and dangerous state" were received. Nevertheless, so 
chaotic was the state of the law, and the disputed question 
of jurisdiction — the Tothill Fields Trustees became next 
involved — that it was not until 1858, after the passing of 
the Metropolis Local Management Act had made matters 
clearer, that the Rochester-row ditch, which had been 
complained of less than six months after its formation, was 
finally covered over and converted into a properly con- 
structed sewer. 

In 1865 the houses in Rochester- row were re-numbered, 
and the subsidiary name of Rochester-terrace (Nos. 78 to 
102) abolished. 

The drinking fountain in front of St. Stephen's .schools 

'■'Here the street is ?i arrowy 4 13 

was erected and given to the public b}' the Baroness 
Burdett-Coiitts in 1882. 

In Rochester-street, which luns in an easterly direction 
out of Rochester-row to the north of St. Stephen's schools, 
are the Townshend schools. 

At the north end of Rochester-row is Old Rochester- 
row, between Artillery-place and Grey-coat-place. 

St. Ann's-lane and Street — The unsavoury and 
disreputable quarter in which we now find ourselves, with 
its old and ruinous tenements, occupied principally by the 
costermonger class, is a last relic of that dreadful locality 
lying under the ver}- shadow of the Abbe}' and the Parlia- 
ment towers, which Dickens so pungently described in 
Household Words as " The Devil's Acre." That congeries 
of seething courts and alleys, the despair of the clergy and 
the police, has disappeared to make way for Victoria-street 
and Peabody-buildings. Nevertheless there remains in 
St. Ann's-lane one of the most interesting memorials of 
the past, that is not to be found elsewhere in all West- 
minster. Its name originates from a chapel or chantry 
which at one time existed close b)- in connection with the 
Almonr)' or Ambre}'. There were two chapels, one dedi- 
cated to St. Dunstan, and one to St. Anne, the mother cf 
the Virgin Mary. It belonged probabl}' to the fraternity 
of St. Anne. In i 576 it was taken on lease by the parish, 
and used as a storehouse for wood to be given to the poor. 

Seymour's account of the locality in his time (1735) is 
curious — 

" Great St. Anne's-tanc, a pretty, handsome, well-built, and inhabited 

Little St. Aitnc's-lane lies between Peter-street a.nd Old Pye-street ; 
but ordinarily built and inhabited. Out of this Lane is a narrow and 
long- Passage into Great St. Anne's-lane, called Aiding'' s-alley. 

From the Vestry minutes we learn that some of the 
houses were built in 1792. "Great St. Anne's-lane " is 
most probably " St. Anne's-street," and " Little St. Anne's- 
lane," what is now known as " St. Ann's-lane," between 

444 Streets and places. 

Great Peter-street and Old Pye-street. The sweet singer, 

Robert Herrick (1591 — 1674), the boon companion of Ben 

Jonson in his re\els, lodged in old St. Ann's-lane. 

Very little is known of the author of the Hespe?-2dcs, except 

that he v\'as for twjnt}- }-ears the vicar of a parish called 

Dean Prior, in Devonshire, was ejected by Cromwell, and 

reinstated by Charles II. at the Restoration. Much of his 

poetry, truth to say, is ver}' little in accordance m ith the 

clerical character, which indeed he seems alwa}'s to have worn 

very lightly. His life in London, when deprived of his living, 

was a jo}ous one ; and, in the lines quoted at the head of 

Chapter XL, he speaks of his " beloved Westminster," 

where he lived until the Restoration. As one of the 

' poetical sonnes ' of convivial-loving Ben, he must have 

often met Shakespeare and the other great wits of that 

glowing age at the renowned ' Mermaid ' : — 

" -Souls of Poets dead and gone, 
What Elysium ha\ e ye known, 
Happy field or mossy tavern, 

Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?" 


Herrick, one of the sweetest of British l}Tical poets, died 
at Dean Prior, October 15, 1674. As the poet wrote 7'o 
Daffodils : — 

We ha\e short time to stay as \'Ou 

We have as short a spring, 
As quick a breath to meet decay 
As you, or anything. 

We die 
As your hours do, and dry 

Like to the summers rain, 
Or as the pearls of morning dew. 
Ne'er to be found again. 
St. Ann's-lane will always be remembered through Sir 
Roger de Coverley's \'outhful adventure there, which 
Addison has .so humorously told in No. 125 of T/ie 
Spectator^ when dilating upon " Party Spirit " : — 

My worthy friend Sir Roger, when we are talking of the malice of 
parties, very frequently tells us an accident that happened to him when 

'■ Sir Roger de Coverley' ; Henry PttrcelL ^45 

he was a school-boy, which was a time when the feuds ran high be- 
tween the Roundheads and Cavaliers. This worthy knight being then 
but a stripling, had occasion to inquire which was the \\ay to St. 
Anne's Lane, upon which the person whom he spoke to, instead of an- 
swering" liis c|uestion, called him a young Popish cur, and asked him 
who had made Anne a saint. The boy being in some confusion in- 
quired of the next he met which was the way to Anne's Lane ; but \\ as 
called a prick-eared cur for his pains, and, instead of being shown the 
wa\-, was told that she had been a saint before he was born, and would 
be one after he was hanged. "L^pon this," says Sir Roger, "I did not 
think fit to repeat the former question, but, going into every lane of the 
neighbourhood, asked what they called the name of that lane." By 
which ingenious artifice he found out the place he inquired after without 
giving offence to any party. Sir Roger generally closes this narrative 
with reflections on the mischief that parties do in the country ; how 
they spoil good neighbourhood, — make honest men hate one another ; 
besides that they manifestly tend to the prejudice of the Land tax and 
the destruction of the Game. 

Dr. Henry Purcell, the pride and boast of the English 
.school of music, \\\\o was born in Westminster in the year 

1658 (where, is not known), resided in St. Ann's-lane.* 
Mr. W. H. Robinson writing- in Notes and Queries of March 

10, 1877, attempts with good authority to locate the exact 

house — • 

There is one interesting circumstance in relation to St. Ann's 
Lane, but I can only gi\e it upon tradition^ not having met with it in 
any publication, viz., that the small house No. 1 1 was formerly the 
habitation of Purcell, the composer, w ho was organist of the Abbev. 
I give this for what it is worth, having received it from my late father, 
v>ho w as agent for se\ eral successive freeholders of the property some 
thirty-five to forty years ago. I am, however, inclined to attach some 
credit to the statement from the circumstance that mj' father was 
hardly likely to have heard Purcell's name in any other connection 
than that of a fomier occupant of the house. . . . The house 
which 1 attribute to Purcell forms the ' return ' end of a block, prin- 
cipally in Old Pye Street, now used as tramps' lodging-houses, and 
which are almost the solitary remains in London of the old style of 
buildings with overhanging roofs and ea\es dripping into the street. 

St. John's parish has every reason to be proud of being 
associated with such a name. "V\'e therefore venture to 
offer a brief review of the musician's life. Both Purcell's 
father, Henry, and uncle, Thomas, were appointed gentle- 

* See Vincent Novello's Life of PiincU, 1826-36. 

446 Streets and p.'aces. 

men of the Chapel Royal at the Restoration. His father 
died when he was but six years of age; and the future musi- 
cian appears to have entered shortl)' afterwards as one of the 
' children of the chapel ' under a Captain Cook, then 
master, to whom the credit must be given for the early 
cultivation of Purcell's inborn genius. Purcell was remark- 
able for precocity of talent. While yet a boy chorister he 
commenced more than one anthem ; and in 1676, though 
but 18 \-ears of age, he was chosen to succeed Dr. Chris- 
topher Gibbons, as organist of the Abbe}% an appointment 
of high professional rank. Dr. Blow, a master in high 
repute at the time, under whom he had studied, 
succeeded him, and his monumental tablet in the Abbey 
proudly records " that he was master to the famous Mr. 
Henry Purcell." Had Purcell confined himself to church 
music only, he would have stood on lofty ground, but the 
greatness of his genius is most conspicuous in his com- 
positions for the chamber and the stage, where the fertility of 
his invention, and the vividness of his imagination, appear 
in all their affluence, because unrestrained by the poetry to 
which he gave musical expression. His settings to Shaks- 
peare and Dryden are inimitable. His odes, glees, catches, 
and rounds are familiar to every admirer of vocal harmony. 
His " To Arms " (duet and chorus), and the air " Britons, 
strike for home ! " became national war songs, always received 
with acclamation. The Vestry of St. Margaret's, whose 
loyalty and patriotism are everywhere shown in their 
minutes, ordered the chimes in 1740 to be set to the latter 
tune.* Purcell died on November 21, 1695, aged 37, of 
consumption, Hawkins surmises, and was laid in the Abbey. 
Says Dean Stanley of him — ''The first musician who was 
buried within the church — the Chaucer, as it were, of the 
Musicians' Corner — was Henry Purcell, organist of the 
Abbey, who died nearly at the same age which was fatal to 
Mozart, Schubert, and Mendelssohn, and was buried in the 

See ].c(al Government in IVestminsler, p. 70. 

Votaries of St. Cecilia. 447 

north aisle of the choir, close to the organ which he had been 
the first to raise to celebrity, and with the /\nthem 
which he had but a few months before composed for the 
funeral of Queen Mary." Charles Knight emphatically 
writes of him : " Purcell, take him for all in all, is the 
greatest musical genius this country ever produced ; and 
our deliberate opinion is, that, from the earliest period in the 
history of the art, down to the time of his death, Europe 
would in vain be searched to find his equal as a composer 
of secular music ... so rich in melody, so expressive 
of the depth and energy of true passion, that all who under- 
stand the English tongue, who haveacquired some knowledge 
of the language of music, and have no governing predilection 
for any particular school, confess his power, and admit the 
originality and vigour of his genius." His tablet was placed 
in the Abbey by Lady Elizabeth Howard, the wife of 
Drj'den, to whom the inscription is attributed — " Here lies 
Henry Purcell, Esq., who left this life, and is gone to that 
blessed place where only his harmony can be excelled." — 

"That undisturbed song of pure consent, 
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne 
To Him that sits thereon, 
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee. 
Where the bright seraphim in burning row. 
Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blo\ss 
And the cherubic host, in thousand choirs, 
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires. 
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms, 
Hymns devout and holy psalms, 
Singing everlastingly I " 


Another musician, William Heather, "doctor in musick," 
lived in a house near St. Ann's-lane (Walcott). He is princi- 
pally to be remembered, at any rate in Westminster, for having 
left a benefaction to King Charles's Hospital in Tothill- 
fields (the Green Coat School). By his will he gave £100 
" unto and for the Benefitt and good of the sayd Poore 
Children of the sayd New Hospitall in Westm"" to be 

44 8 Streets and places. 

Implo}-'cl as the Vestry men of St. Marg:'' in VVestm : for 
the time being shall thinke fitt ; Item I give more unto the 
sa)'d Children of the sayd Hospitall x/." 

King Charles I. did not grant his Letters I'atent to St. 
Margaret's Hospital (as it was also called) till 1633, so that 
Dr. Heather — Hatton spells the name as " Heath " in his 
New ]^ieio of London — was, by his will and perhaps during 
his lifetime, one of the earliest supporters of a charity 
which ultimatel}' formed the nucleus of the United West- 
minster Schools. He died July 2, 1627 — 

" Pure in deeds 
At last he beat his music out." 


Under the heading of " St. Anne's-lane," Walcott says 
that John Ru.shworth, M.A., the historical writer, "lived for 
some time in great obscurity in Westminster." It would be 
most interesting to learn if there were any truth in the im- 
plication that that unfortunate scholar lived in St. Ann's- 
lane in his latter days of ro\'al neglect and disgrace. As 
one of the clerks to the House of Commons, he was present 
when King Charles attempted to .seize the five members. 
It appears to have been Rushworth's practice to take down 
in a species of shorthand what he thought worth preserving, 
and the king, having ob.served him taking his speech in 
characters, required a copy of it. Rushworth tried to ex- 
cuse him.self, pleading how Mr. Neville had been sent to the 
Tower for telling his majest)' what was spoken in the 
House. Charles smarth' replied, " I ask )'ou not to tell me 
what was said by any member, but what I said myself" 
Rushworth's Historical Collections of Private Passages of 
State, Weio/ity matters in Law, aiid Remarkable proceedings 
in Parliament (161 8 to 1648) have been of immense value 
to historians of that period. The first volume was unfor- 
tunately ushered in by a high-flown dedication to the new 
Protector Richard. The author thereby lost all hope of 
royal favour, and after ]i\ing in great obscurity and po\erty, 

"A couipaniofi to the coninton streets^ 449 

he was arrested for debt and sent to the King's Bench prison 
in 1684, \\here he died in 1690. The poor author latterly 
took to drink to 'drown care,' and his mind and memory 
were ncarl)- ;-^onc for some time bcfovc his death. 

As a fair sample of the mob violence prevalent in the 
latter part of the last centurv', we read in the Old British 
Spy, Januar}- 4, 1783, that three men were committed to 
Newt;ate by William Addini^ton, Esq., a mat^istrate, " on a 
charge against them on oath, for riotously and tumultuously 
assembling together to the disturbance of the public peace, 
and for demolishing and pulling down four dwelling houses 
situate in St. Anne's-lane, Westminster, belonging to the 
Governors of the Grey Coat Hospital." E\idently the 
enormities of the mob which followed Lord George Gordon 
had not been forgotten. 

Coming down now to the early part of the present 
century we find that the inhabitants of St. Ann's-lane 
become more on a par with the genius loci as we know it. 
In Mr. J. T. Smith's Wxgabondiana, we are told that about 
the }'ear 1816 there li\-ed here — 

A notable beg^^ar, John McNally, of Tyrone, who had lost the use 
of his legs by a log that had crushed both his thighs. His head, 
shoulders and chest were exactly those of a Hercules. This extra- 
ordinary torso was drawn on a truck by two dogs. Boxer and RoAer 
whom he had trained, by which contrivance he increased his income 
beyond belief Though this man's dogs, when coupled, have occasiona 
snarlings, particularly when one scratches himself with an over- 
strained exertion, the other feeling at the same time an inclination to 
dose ; yet when the master has been dead drunk, and become literally 
a log on his truck, they have \ery cordially united their efforts to 
convey him to his lodgings in St. Ann's-lane, Westminster, and 
perhaps with more safety than if he had governed them, frequently 
taking a circuitous route during" street repairs, in order to obtain the 
clearest paths. 

" Beggar? — the only freeman of your Commonwealth ; 
Free abo\c Scot-free, that obser\e no laws, 
Obey no go\"ernor, use no religion 
But what they draw from their own ancient custom 
Or constitute themselves." 


Saj's the entertaining author of Ohi and New jLondon ; 

450 Streets and places. 

" There is an old saying among Londoners, quoted in 
Moryson's Itinerarie, to the effect that ' woe be to him who 
buys a horse in Smithfield, or who takes a servant from St. 
Paul's, or a wife out of Westminster.' Judging from the 
appearance of the female part of the community inhabiting 
many of the narrow courts and alleys abounding in this 
neighbourhood, one would be almost inclined to feel that 
the latter part of the saying above quoted holds good even 
in the present day." 

Such is the class of inhabitants that is usually associated 
with this quarter of Westminster, so long notorious as the 
haunt of thieves and ruffianism, the home of professional 
poverty and extreme misery, and the hiding place of vice's 
sad victims, and of human wreckage from every shoal and 
rock in life's dangerous ocean. Now, however, a change for 
the better is gradually spreading over the place. Recent sani- 
tary legislation is bringing about a marked improvement in 
such of the old property as is allowed to run its full lease of 
life, and the prodigious enhancement of land value in West- 
minster is causing stately mansions to rise on the site of 
wretched courts and alleys, to the regret of the antiquarian, 
perhaps, but to the great content of all whose regard for 
the public morals and the public health is paramount. 
Thus the whirligig of Time brings in his revenges. 

Twdfth Nighf. 

In St. Ann's-street, nearly opposite Old Pye-street, is 
the second-class entrance to the Public Baths and Wash- 
houses {see Chapter XV?) which are at the time of writing in 
course of being rebuilt. 

St. Ann's-court is a narrow and disreputable place on 
the east side of St. Ann's-street. It is about to be absorbed 
in the new factory of Messrs. Burroughes and Watts, the 
billiard-table manufacturers. 

St. John-street— leads from the north-west corner of 
Smith-.square into Wood-street. This mediocre street of 
ordinary two-storey brick-houses was, in the beginning of 

St. John-street ; St. Matthciu-strcct. 4^1 

the present century, occupied by ' carriage folk ; ' 
but they have long since forsaken it. From the 
Vestry minutes of 1807 we read of complaint made 
of the condition of St. John-street — " so dangerous 
that we cannot get coaches or any other carriages 
up to our doors for fear of being overturned, and 
are therefore obliged to cause such coaches and carriages 
to stop at the north-end of the street in Wood-street." 
Complaint was at the same time made that the street was 
not lighted at night. 

A plan preserved in the British Museum shows that in 
1739 St. John-street had not been formed, although the 
surrounding streets had been built. 

St. Matthew-street (formerly Duck-lane) — The name 
of Duck-lane, Mr. Walcott surmises, "was probably derived 
from the number of those birds which frequented the 
straight canals and runnels by \\'hich early maps represent 
the immediate vicinity to have been divided." Seymour, 
in 1735, thought it "a Place of no great Account." Dr. 
Christopher Gibbons, known by his beautiful " Cathedral 
Services" and chants, lived in this lane. Dean Swift's lines 
on the death of himself contain a reference to Duck-lane as 
being a place in London where old books were sold — 

" Some country squire to Lintot goes, 
Inquires for 'Swift in Verse and Prose.' 
Says Lintot, ' I have heard the name ; 
He died a year ago.' — 'The same.' 
He searches all the shops in vain. 
'Sir, you may find them in Duck lane ; 
I sent them with a load of books 
Last Monday to the pasty-cook's — 
To fancy they could live a year !— 
I find you're but a stranger here.' I" 

Duck-lane was, before the Westminster Improvements, a 
somewhat notorious neighbourhood. Walcott, speaking 
with the fulness of personal knowledge, says : " Its site has 
but recently been demolished of all its labyrinthine courts 
and stifling passages, in order to be prepared for the forma- 

452 St /rets and places. 

lion of that 54 teat boon to lower Westminster, the new 

The Blue Coat School was first founded in this lane in or 
about the year 1688, by Dr. Thomas Jekyll. A brief notice 
(^i the school is i2;iven in chapter XV. 

.Accorflin;;" !<• "'a \\'c<i!iiin<Lcr Hntiqnar}\" writirig- in the 
Wesl Loudon Press, nf Au-'. jS. 1 SSo. ihere w as h, cock-j 'it 
in the lane which survived unlii die VVe^iinin-^ttr i nipr' i\ c- 
ments in 1847 swept it awav'. Duck-lane extended hum 
Great Peter-street to Orchard-street. So much of it as was 
not demolished in 1847 ^^'S'^' by order of the Metropolitan 
Board of Works, dated 7th October, 1864, renamed " St. 
Matthew-street," in recognition of the new " district ot St. 
Matthew, Great Peter-street" (1850) in which it is now- 

Smith-SQUARE — was known more generalh^ as " St. 
John's church-}'ard," until the early part of the present 
century. Mr. Fitzgerald has felicitously described its semi- 
respectable gentility, reminding one forcibly of some poor 
wight endeavouring to preserve the appearance of a long- 
past prosperit}' : — " Going on a little farther we come to the 
massive, curious church, which stands in Smith-square, the 
houses running round being of an odd, old fashion, unlike 
anything in London. It might be in a country- town. This 
quarter, too, is one of those which has a distinct character, 
even in its squalor. But it is still pervaded by the ecclesias- 
tical cathedral flavour of the Abbey adjoining." 

In Smith-square died, in June, 1806, Mrs. Susannah 
Churchill, widow of Mr. John Churchill, of Abingdon-street, 
(see page 399 j, brother of the satirist ; and in February 
1807, at his house in St. John's church-)^ard, Westminster, 
aged 86, Thomas Newton, a relation of the great Sir Isaac. 

The description given by Dickens in Our Mutual Friend 
of Smith-square, has been quoted at page 47. Another 
illustrious novelist. Lord Beaconsfield, shows, in his 
remarkable romance of Sybil, or The Two Nations^ so 

Entrance to Smith-square front Millbank-street. 453 

minute an acquaintance with this out-of-the-way secluded 
neighbourhood — a sort of back-water, as it were, of the 
turbulent current of Hfe, streaming along close by — that one 
may be allowed to infer that the great statesman, when a 



§ % 


S 2 



member of the LowerJHouse, found a refuge and a hiding- 
place from ' Lobbyists ' and a thousand other distractions 
in these sober streets, during the course of a dull debate, or 
to collect his thoughts for one of his brilliant replies. The 
following quotation though somewhat long, will be excused, 

2 E 

454 Streets atid places. 

when it is seen how intimate Lord Beaconsfield was with 
the locahty, and how faithfully he depicts its peculiar 
characteristics : — 

Egremont had met Sybil in the Abbey, and insisted 
upon attending her home— 

And guided by her, they turned up College Street. . . . 

While they thus conversed, they passed through several clean, still 
streets,='= that had rather the appearance of streets in a very quiet 
country town, than of abodes in the greatest city in the world, and in 
the vicinity of palaces and parliaments. Rarely was a shop to be re- 
marked among the neat little tenements, many of them built of curious 
old brick, and all of , them raised without any regard to symmetry or 
proportion. Not the sound of a single wheel was heard ; sometimes 
not a single individual was visible or stirring. . . . The area round the 
church, which was sufficiently ample, was formed by buildings, generally 
of a mean character : the long back premises of a carpenter, the 
straggling yard of a hackney-man ; sometimes a small, narrow 
isolated private residence, like a waterspout in which a rat might 
reside ; sometimes a group of houses of more pretension. In the 
extreme corner of this area, which was dignified by the name of Smith'" 
Square, instead of taking a more appropriate title from the church o 
St. John which it encircled, was a large old thouse, that had been 
masked at the beginning of the century with a modern front of pale- 
coloured bricks, but which still stood in its courtyard surrounded by its 
iron railings, withdrawn as it were from the vulgar gaze like an individual 
who had known higher fortunes, and blending with his humility some- 
thing of the reserve which is prompted by the memory of vanished 
greatness. ' This is my home ' said Sybil. ' It is a still place and 
suits us well.' 

Near the house was a narrow | passage which was a thoroughfare 
into the most populous quarter of the neighbourhood. As Egremont 
was opening the gate of the courtyard, Gerard ascended the steps of 
this passage, and approached them. . . . 

They entered the large gloomy hall of the house, and towards the 
end of a long passage Gerard opened a door, and they all went into a 
spacious melancholy room, situate at the back of the house, and look- 
ing upon a small scjuare plot of dank grass, in the midst of which rose 
a weather-stained Cupid, with one arm broken, and the other raised in 
the air, and with a long shell to its mouth. It seemed that in old days 
it might have been a fountain. At the end of the plot, the blind side of 
a house offered a high wall which had once been painted in fresco. 

* Barton-street, Cowley-street, and North-street. 

tThis house is evidently the old " Rectory House." 

%"■ Church passage," at the side. 

Lord Bcaconsfield and Suiith-sqiiaye. 455 

Though much of the coloured plaster had cracked and peeled away, 
and all that remained was stained and faded, still some traces of the 
original design might yet be traced : festive wreaths, the colonnades, 
and perspective of a palace. 

In this old Rectory House so minutely described by the 
noble author, the best scenes in the book are laid, between 
Egremont and Sybil, the representatives of the " Two 
Nations " — the Rich and the Poor, the Privileged and the 

Not only the church, but the old clock appears to have 
attracted the notice of Disraeli. His readers will recollect 
the chartist Morley's passionate interview with Sybil, in 
which the latter had attempted to save her father from the 
consequences of implication in the chartist rising — 

Morley had rushed frantically from the house, raging with jealous 
anger. " She darted out of the room to recall him ; to make one more 
effort for her father ; but in vain. By the side of their house was an 
intricate passage* leading into a labyrinth of small streets. Through 
this Morley had disappeared ; and his name, more than once sounded 
in a voice of anguish in that silent and most obsolete Smith Square, 
received no echo. . . . 

The clock of St. John's struck seven. 

It was the only thing that spoke in that still and dreary square ; it 
was the only voice that ever seemed to sound there ; but it was a voice 
from heaven, it was the voice of St. John. 

" Sybil looked up ; she looked up at the holy building. Sybil 
listened ; she listened to the holy sounds. St. John told her that the 
danger to her father was so much more advanced. Oh ! why are 
there saints in heaven if they cannot aid the saintly ! The oath that 
Morley would have enforced came whispering in the ear of Sybil 
' Swear by the holy Virgin, and by all the saints.' And shall she not 
pray to the holy Virgin, and all the saints ? Sybil prayed ; she prayed 
to the holy Virgin, and all the saints, and especially to the beloved 
St. John, most favoured among Hebrew men, who reposed on the 
the breast of the divine Friend. 

" Brightness and courage returned to the spirit of Sybil; a sense of 
animating and exalting faith that could, move mountains and combat 
without fear a thousand perils. The conviction of celestial aid inspired 
her. She rose fi'om her resting-place, and re-entered the house ; only, 
however, to provide herself with her walking attire, and then, alone 
and without a guide, the shades of evening already descending, this 

* Church-passage. 

2 E 2 

456 Streets and places. 

child of innocence and divine thoughts, born in a cottage and bred in 
a cloister, went forth, on a great enterprise of duty and devotion, into 
the busiest and the wildest haunts of the greatest of modern cities." 

It may be mentioned here that the rectory house was 
erected simultaneously with the church. The accounts, in 
great detail, are preserved in the Public Record Office ; 
but it is sufficient to say here that the total cost was 
;^i,827 los. 3d., exclusive of the site. 

As has been stated in Chapter II. (page 24J, the site of 
the parish church, and of the rectory house in the square 
was purchased of Henry Smith, the freeholder in 171 1. 

The houses in Smith-square were re-numbered in 1869. 

(Great) Smith-street — with Smith-square and Little 
Smith-street, are said by Walcott to have " derived their 
names from Mr. Smith, the Clerk of the Works at the time 
of their erection." But there is little reason to doubt that 
the true derivation is that of Hatton — 

" Smith Street. A new street of good buildings, so called from Sir 
James Smith, the ground landlord, who has here a fine house. It is 
situated in Westminster fronting the Bowling Alley on the west side 
of Peter Street." 

At the commencement of the last century (1705) there 
was a turnpike in Smith-street. 

Thomas Southern (or Southerne), the dramatist, had a 
house in Smith-street, in which he died. Southern was an 
Irishman, born in Co. Dublin (Oxmantown) in 1660. Pre- 
ferring poetry to law, he early left Trinity College, Dublin, 
for London, and soon became a popular writer of plays, the 
first being the Persian Prince, acted in 1682. At the time 
of Monmouth's rising Southern served in the King's army 
and on quitting it resumed his dramatic writing. He en- 
joyed great popularity, and lived on terms of intimacy with 
those of his contemporaries most distinguished for wit or 
rank — among whom were Dryden and Pope. Doran, in his 
Annals of the Stage* says of him, " He was a perfect gen- 
tleman ; he did not lounge away his days or nights in coffee- 
houses or taverns, but after labour cultivated friendship in 

* Vol. I., chap. IX. 

Thomas Southern; Sir Richard Steele. 457 

home circles, where virtue and modest mirth sat at the 
hearth. . . . He kept the even tenor of his way, owing 
no man anything ; never allowing his nights to be the 
marrer of his mornings ; and at six-and-eighty carrying 
a bright eye, a steady hand, a clear head, and a warm heart 
wherewith to calmly meet and make surrender of all to the 
Inevitable Angel." Southern was fond of Westminster, and 
lived for many years at Mr. Whyte's, the oilman's, in Tot- 
hill-street, against Dartmouth-street — afterwards the shop 
of Mr. Mucklow, who left a charitable bequest to the parish. 
Southern died at a very advanced age, in Smith-street, on 
26th May, 1746, and was buried in St. Paul's, Covent- 

" I venerate the man whose heart is warm, 
Whose hands are pure, whose doctrine and whose hfe, 
Coincident, exhibit lucid proof 
That he is honest — " 


Sir Richard Steele ( 167 1 -1729) is another great Irishman 
who is associated with Smith-street, although but slightly. 
The essayist and coUoborateur with Addison writes (about 
1797), after the death of his first wife, " to his dear Prue," 
from Smith-street, Westminster, from Chelsea, and from 
many coffee-houses and taverns. "Isaac Bickerstaff" 
married his second wife in October, 1707, when he settled 
down in Bury-street, St. James's. " His own sweet 
Prue " is buried in the south transept of the Abbey, near 
Poets' Corner. 

William Nichols (or Niccholls), D.D., the theologian, 
lived in Smith-street in 171 1. Born in 1664, he published 
The Religion of a Prince in 1 704, and the work for which 
he is principally remembered, Conwient on the Book of 
Common Prayer, in 17 10. He died 30th April, 17 12. 

Edward Wortley Montagu, grandson of the celebrated 
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, bequeathed (i777) all his 
father's books and manuscripts to John English Dolben. 
The will reads : " I request that he will publish such 

458 Streets and places. 

of the latter as he may choose, and give the profits that may 
arise, to and for the use and benefit of Mrs. Ann Burgess, 
formerly of Great Smith street, Westminster, as a small 
acknowledgment for the more than motherly kindness with 
which she treated me during the ten years I was in her 
house while at Westminster School." Unfortunately, no 
further information can be obtained of Mrs. Burgess's other 

The name of " Charles Dilk " appears as the rated house- 
holder of a house in Smith-street, in the Poor Rate books 
of the parishes for the years 1821 to 1824, inclusive. An 
inquiry made of Sir Charles W. Dilke, M.P., the present 
baronet, confirmed what had been surmised, that Sir Charles 
Dilke's talented grandfather, Charles Wentworth Dilke, 
was a resident in Great Smith-street, in order to be near his 
son, who was a scholar at Westminster School. Mr. Dilke, 
who was born in 1789, after his retirement from a situation 
in the navy pay-office, became proprietor of The A tJienceum 
in 1830, which up to that time had not been successful. 
His intimate friends were the Hoods, Charles Lamb, 
A. Cunningham, Dickens, Forster, Chorley, J. H. Reynolds, 
and John Keats ; and Thackeray, Cobden, Barry Cornwall, 
Bulwer, Mrs. Hemans, Landor, Hook, the Howitts and the 
Brownings were also to be counted amongst his acquaintance. 
His only son, afterwards Sir Charles W. Dilke, Bart, M.P., 
the Commissioner, born in 18 10, was at Westminster from 
1 82 1 to 1826, when, holding the highest position in the 
school, he was taken by his father to Italy. In 1831 
Mr. Dilke reduced the price of TJie AtJiencEuin from 8d. 
to 4d., to the dismay of Lamb, Reynolds, Cunningham, and 
others, and by his bold and energetic management, made it 
not only a popular and influential journal, but a commercial 
success. In 1846 he gave up the editorship to Mr. Hervey, 
and soon after became the editor of the Daily News, when 
he lowered the price from 5d. to 2^d. (including stamp 
duty), by which step that newspaper became the forerunner 

Great SniitJi-street. 459 

of the cheap daily press. Mr. Dilke edited a collection of 
Old English Plays, and his declining years were spent in 
literary luxury in ' his tub,' — as his library was called. He 
made a collection of works — bound no two alike, so that he 
might know them at a glance — bearing on the Junius 
problem, upon which subject he wrote a series of articles 
that give evidence in every line of the ripest scholarshipj 
He died near Farnham, August 10, 1864. 

The above facts are taken from a memoir written by the 
present Sir Charles Dilke of his grandfather, prefaced 
to a collection of articles on Pope, ' Junius,' Burke, 
Wilkes, &c., entitled Papers of a Critic (1875). 

From the Gentleman's Magazine we learn that Captain 
Patrick Mount, R.N., died in Smith-street, on May 5, 1790, 
aged 78 ; and on January ii, 1799, Edward Beckwith, of 
the Auditor's office. 

In Great Smith-street was the " City of Westminster 
Literary, Scientific, and Mechanics' Institution," afterwards 
the " Free Public Library." An account of these institu- 
tions will be found elsewhere (chapter xv.) The Public 
Baths and Wash-houses (see also chapter xv.), of which Mr. 
Walcott spoke so hopefully just before their establishment, 
have recently been demolished (1892) to make way for a new 
block of buildings more worthy of the parish and of the 

That part of Great Smith-street which lies between 
Victoria-street and Orchard-street was known until 1865 as 
Dean-street, when an Order of the late Metropolitan Board 
abolished the name. The whole of the houses in the 
thoroughfare between Victoria-street and Marsham-street 
were then re-numbered and thenceforth known as Great 
Smith-street. The name was no doubt suppressed in order 
to prevent confusion with a "Dean-street, Bloomberg-street, 
Vauxhall-bridge-road " mentioned in Cooke's Local Direc- 
tory, 1847. In this street was, until its demolition at the 
time of the Westminster Improvements, the Workhouse of 

460 Streets afid places. 

St. Margaret's and St. John's parishes. There is a fine 
water colour sketch of this workhouse (a red brick structure) 
in the Grace Collection at the British Museum. 

Little Smith-street is an unpretentious short thorough- 
fare turning out of Great Smith-street on the east side, 
opposite the Public Baths, into Tufton-street. The Ghoir 
House of the Abbey was on the north side, but new hand- 
some premises have recently been erected opposite, at the 
corner with Tufton-street, to make room for the new 
Ghurch House that is to occupy the whole of the site 
between Dean's Yard and Little Smith-street on the north 
and south, and between Great Smith-street and Tufton- 
street on the west and east. 

Mr. John Buller, a commissioner of excise, died at his 
house here on 26 November, 1793. 

Strutton-GROUND — Seymour describes " Stretton- 
grounds," as he spells the name, as being " a good, hand- 
some, long, well-built, and inhabited street, which runs up 
to Tothill-fields, almost against the new Workhouse for 
employing poor people ; and hath on the West a Passage 
into the new Artillery-ground^ a pretty large Liclosure, 
made Use of by those that delight in Military Exercise." 

The somewhat singular name of Strutton-ground, which 
was at one time a mere lane leading to Tothill-fields and 
the road to the Horse Ferry, is a corruption of the name 
of Stourton. Stourton House, the mansion of the Lords 
Dacre of the South stood at the south-west end of ancient 
Tothill-street, " by the entrance into Tothill-fields." It 
was built anew by Gregory Fiennes, the last Lord Dacre of 
the South. He died childless in 1594, and it was his wife 
(Anne, sister to Lord Buckhurst) who founded, by will made 
in the same year as her husband's death, the " Hospital of 
Jesus," or " PLmanuel Hospital," still situate in James-street 
close by. Opposite this house was that of Lord Grey de 
Wilton, and both are shown on Norden's map of London, 

Tuf ton-street. 461 

Tachbrook-street — was built between 1845 and 1850, 
and was occupied for many years by well-to-do ' city men,' 
who gradually forsook it as the facilities for locomotion 
enabled them to migrate to the suburbs. Many of the 
houses are now let in apartments to the working classes. 
The boundary between the parishes of Westminster and 
St. George, Hanover-square, passes down the centre of the 
street through its entire length, beneath which passes the 
King's Scholars' pond sewer. Bishop's Tachbrook is the 
name of a parish three miles south-east of Warwick. 

' Upper Tachbrook-street ' was the name formerly borne 
by that part of Tachbrook-street which lies between 
Vauxhall-bridge-road and Churton-street. The prefix 
"Upper" was abolished in 1881, when the whole of the 
street from Lupus-street to the Vauxhall-bridge-road was 
re-numbered and named " Tachbrook-street, S.W." 

A professional gentleman living in St. George's-square, 
whose father and grandfather practised largely in ' our 
parish,' has in his possession a testimonial publicly presented 
to his grandfather in recognition of his bravery in rescuing a 
child from drowning in the " Tach Brook." It has been 
suggested that the part of the King's Scholars' pond sewer 
which runs beneath the road was locally known by that 
name, and gives the name to the street ; but the suggestion 
lacks confirmation, 

TUFTON-STREET. — Prior to 1869 Tufton-street only ex- 
tended from Wood-street to Horseferry-road, the remaining 
part, from Great College-street to Wood-street, having been 
formerly known as Bowling-street. The name is derived 
from Sir Richard Tufton of Tothill-street, its first builder. 
Sir Richard was the fourth son of Sir John Tufton, of 
Hothfield, knight and baronet. Sir Richard died Oct. 4, 
1 63 1, and is buried in the Ambulatory in King Edward the 
Confessor's chapel, Westminster Abbey. In 1735, when 

462 Streets and places. 

Seymour made his survey, this street was not half built. 
He thus describes it — 

" Tuftoii-strect, a good, large, and open Place, having on the east 
side a Row of well-built Houses, but the west side as yet is unbuilt. 
In this street is Bencfs-yard., very ordinary." 

In the minutes of St. John's Vestry it is called " a great 

thoroughfare for carriages." There was a cock-pit in this 

street so late as 181 5, when the Rev. Joseph Nightingale 

wrote his History of the City and Liberty of Westminster. 

He says : — 

In this street there is a building devoted to the brutal and 
unmanly amusement of cock fighting. It is a large circular area, 
with a slightly elevated platform in the centre, surrounded by benches, 
rising in graduation to nearly the top of the building. That I might 
be enabled to give this short description, and it merits no other, I have 
been compelled to witness for a short time one of the most disgraceful 
and shocking scenes ; for I had no opportunity of going in except at 
the time of fighting. Here were several hundreds of persons of almost 
all ages, ranks and conditions, clamorously betting and uttering the 
most dreadful imprecations, while the poor animals were excited by 
every species of irritation of which they were susceptible, to the des- 
truction of each other. 

The Gcntlcinan's Magazine contains the following obituary 
notices : — 

Nov. 2"/, lygy. In an apoplectic fit, Mr. Finney of Tufton-street, 
Westminster ; a well-known literary character in diurnal 

March 8th, 1802. Of a consumption, under which he had lingered 
many years, aged 57, Mr. Thomas Wapshott, of Tufton- 
street, Westminster, builder, respectable in his profession, 
having repaired the parish church of St. Paul, Covent-garden, 
1789, and rebuilt it after the dreadful conflagration of Sept. 
•7) 1795) with such nearness and simple elegance as at once 
attract the notice of every spectator; together with Paddington 
church. South Lambeth chapel, and many other public 

On the west side of Tufton-street are courts named 
Tufton-place, William's place, and Bennett's-yard (which 
extends into Marsham-street), of which nothing further can 
be said. On the east side are the St. John's National 
Schools {see Chapter XV.) and Little Tufton-street, leading 
mto Smith-square. 

A notorious adventurer. 463 

Bowling-alley (or Street)— Mr. Walcott says of this 

street : — 

The Abbey, with its gates, ahnonry, bell-towers, granary, dormi- 
tory, sanctuary, and the monastic buildings enclosing it on every side, 
must have appeared glorious in the prime of its magnificence indeed, 
when compared with its present denuded aspect, — St. Margaret's 
Church and the Cloisters being the last and only relics of its many 
former beautiful and imposing accessories. Still some streets in the 
vicinity preserve the memory of the old places, upon the sites of which 
they have been built. Among others we find Bowling-alley, which was 
erected upon the Green, where the members of the Convent amused 
themselves at the game of bowls. 

Seymour, in his Survey^ thus describes the locaHty : — 
The Bowtuig-alhy falls into Great Dcan's-allcy, in the north : It is 
well-built and inhabited ; in which are Ottver's-yard, and a Place called 
Back-aitey, both ordinary. 

The name of BowHng-alley is associated with the 
notorious Thomas Blood, generally called Colonel Blood, a 
native of Ireland, and an adventurer of no mean character. 
He is believed to have been born about 1628. He served 
as lieutenant in the parliamentary forces, -and had a grant 
of land assigned to him for his pay. Henry Cromwell put 
him into the commission of the peace. After the restoration, 
Blood joined a design for surprising Dublin Castle and 
seizing the person of the Duke of Ormond, then lord- 
lieutenant. The conspiracy was, however, discovered on the 
eve of its execution, and Blood fled, harboured by the native 
Irish in the mountains, and afterwards to Holland and Eng- 
land. He joined the Fifth Monarchy men, and after defeat 
in the action of Pentland Hills (Nov. 27, 1666) fled back 
to England, thence to Ireland, and thence to England again, 
where he lived for a time in disguise at Westminster, 
meditating revenge against the Duke of Ormond, whom he 
actually seized on the night of Dec. 6th, 1670, in his coach 
in St. James's-street, with the intent, as was believed, of 
carrying him to T}'burn, and there hanging him. The duke, 
who was tied on horseback to one of Blood's associates, 
only managed by a violent effort to fling himself and the 
assassin to the ground, and while they were struggling 

464 Streets and places. 

in the mire, the duke's servants rescued their master. 

Blood had so cunningly contrived this enterprise that he 

was not suspected of being concerned in it, though a reward 

of ^1,000 was offered by proclamation to discover the 


" So smooth he daub'd his vice with show of virtue. 
He Hved from all attainder of suspect." 

Richard III. 

The miscarriage of this design put him upon one, still more 
strange and hazardous, to repair his broken fortune, upon 
which the bad eminence of his infamy principally rests. 
The author of the Romance of London has so well told the 
tale that we cannot do better than quote his graphic 
account : — 

Scarcely had the public amazement subsided at Colonel Blood's out- 
rage upon the Duke of Ormond, when, with the view of repairing his 
fallen fortunes, he plotted to steal the crown, the sceptre, and the rest 
of the regalia from the Tower, and share them between himself and his 
accomplices. The regalia were, at this time, in the care of an aged 
man, named Talbot Edwards, who was exhibitor of the jewels, &c., and 
with whom Blood first made acquaintance, disguised " in a long cloak, 
cassock, and canonical girdle," with a woman whom he represented as 
his wife, who accompanied him to see the crown and jewels. 

The lady feigned to be taken ill, upon which they were conducted 
into the exhibitor's lodgings, where Mr. Edwards gave her a cordial, 
and treated her otherwise with kindness. They thanked him, and 
parted ; and, in a few days, the pretended parson again called with a 
present of gloves for Mrs. Edwards, in acknowledgment of her civility. 
The parties then became intimate, and Blood proposed a match between 
Edwards's daughter and a supposed nephew of the Colonel, whom he 
represented as possessed of ^200 or ^300 a year in land. It was 
arranged, at Blood's suggestion, that he should bring his nephew, to be 
introduced to the lady, at seven o'clock on the morning of the ninth of 
May, 167 1 ; and he further asked leave to bring with him two friends to 
see the regalia, at the above early hour, as they must leave town in 
the afternoon. Strype, the antiquary, who received his account from the 
younger Edwards, tells us that " at the appointed time the old man rose 
early to receive his guest, and the daughter dressed herself gaily to re- 
ceive her gallant, when behold, parson Blood, with three men, came to 
the jewel-house, all armed with rapier blades in their canes, and each 
with a dagger and a pair of pistols. Two of his companions entered 
with him, and a third stayed at the door to watch. Blood told Edwards 
that they would not go upstairs till his wife came, and desired him to 
show his friends the crown, to pass the time. This was agreed to ; but 

How Colonel Blood stole the Crown. 465 

no sooner had they entered the room wh ere the crown was kept, and 
the door, as usual, been shut, than ' they threw a cloth over the old 
man's head, and clapt a gag into his mouth.' Thus secured, they told 
him that ' their resolution was to have the crown, globe, and sceptre ; 
and if he would quietly submit to it, they would spare his life, otherwise 
he was to expect no mercy.' Notwithstanding this threat, Edwards 
made all the noise he could, to be heard above ; ' they then knocked 
him down with a wooden mallet, which they had brought with them to 
beat together and flatten the crown — and told him that if yet he would 
be quiet, they would spare his life, but if not, upon his next attempt to 
discover them, they would kill him, and they pointed three daggers at 
his breast,' — and the official account states, stabbed him in the belly. 
Edwards, however, persisted in making a noise, when they struck him 
on the head, and he became insensible, but, recovering, lay quiet. 
The three villains now went deliberately to work : one of them, Parrot, 
put the globe (orb) into his breeches ; Blood concealed the crown under 
his cloak ; and another was proceeding to file the sceptre asunder, in 
order that it might be put into a bag, 'because too long to carry.' 

Thus, they would have succeeded but for the opportune arrival of 
young Mr. Edwards, from Flanders, accompanied by his brother-in-law, 
Captain Beekman, who proceeded upstairs to the apartments occupied 
by the Edwards. Blood and his accomphces, thus interrupted, in- 
stantly decamped with the crown and orb, leaving the sceptre, which 
they had no time to file. Edwards, now freed from the gag, shouted 
"Treason" ! " Murder" ! and his daughter rushing out into the court, 
gave the alarm, and cried out that the crown was stolen. Edwards and 
Captain Beekman pursued the thieves, who reached the drawbridge ; 
here the warder attempted to stop them, when Blood discharged a 
pistol at him ; he fell down, and they succeeded in clearing the gates, 
reached the wharf, and were making for St. Katherine's-gate, where 
horses were ready for them, when they were overtaken by Captain 
Beekman. Blood discharged his second pistol at the Captain's head, 
but he escaped by stooping, and seized Blood, who struggled fiercely; 
but on the crown being wrested from him, in a tone of disappointment 
he exclaimed, " it was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful, for it 
was for a crown" ! A few of the jewels fell from the crown in the 
struggle, but they were recovered and replaced. 

Blood, with Parrot (who had the orb and the most valuable jewel of 
the sceptre — the baleas ruby — in his pocket), were secured and lodged 
in the White Tower, and three others of the party were subsequently 
captured. Parrot was a dyer in Thames-street. One of the gang -was 
apprehended as he was escaping on horseback. 

Young Edwards now hastened to Sir Gilbert Talbot, master of the 
jewel-house, and described the transaction, which Sir Gilbert instantly 
communicated to the King, who commanded him to return forthwith to 
the Tower, and when he had taken the examination of Blood, and the 
others, to report it to him. Sir Gilbert accordingly returned, but the 
King, in the meantime was persuaded by some about him to hear the 

466 Streets and places. 

examination himself; and the prisoners, in consequence, were 
immediately sent to Whitehall ; a circumstance which is thought to 
have saved them from the gallows. Blood behaved with great effrontery: 
being interrogated on his recent outrage on the Duke of Ormond, he 
acknowledged, without hesitation, that he was one of the party ; but on 
being asked who were his associates, he replied that " he would never 
betray a friend's life, nor deny a guilt in defence of his own." Lest the 
concealment of his associates should detract from the romance of his 
life, he also voluntarily confessed to the King that he. Blood, on one occa- 
sion concealed himself among the reeds above Battersea,in order to shoot 
his Majesty while bathing in the Thames, over against Chelsea, where he 
often went to swim ; — that he had taken aim for that purpose, but "his 
heart was checked by an awe of Majesty ;" and he did not only himself 
relent, but also diverted his associates from the design. This story was, 
probably, false ; but it had its designed effect on the King, strengthened 
by Blood's declaration that there were hundreds of his friends disaffected 
to the King, and his ministers ; whereas by sparing the lives of the 
few he might oblige the hearts of many, "who, as they had been seen 
to do daring mischief, would be as bold, if received into pardon and 
favour, to perform eminent services for the crown." 

Thus did the audacious and wary villain partly over-awe and partly 
captivate the good nature of the King, who not only pardoned Blood, 
but gave him a grant in land of ^500 a year in Ireland, and even 
treated him with great consideration, "as the Indians reverence devils, 
that they may not hurt them." Blood is said also to have frequented 
the same apartments in Whitehall as the Duke of Ormond, who had 
some time before barely escaped assassination. 

Charles received a cutting rebuke for his conduct from the Duke of 
Ormond, who had still the right of prosecuting Blood for the attempt 
on his life. When the King resolved to take the Colonel into his 
favour, he sent Lord Arlington to inform the Duke that it was his 
pleasure that he should not prosecute Blood, for reasons which he was 
to give him ; Arlington was interrupted by Ormond, who said, with 
formal politeness, that " his Majesty's command was the only reason 
that could be given ; and therefore he might spare the rest." Edwards 
and his son, who had been the means of saving the regalia, were 
treated with neglect ; the only reward they received being grants out 
of the Exchequer, of ^200 to the old man, and ^100 to his son ; which 
they were obliged to sell for half their value, through difficulty in 
obtaining payment. 

Strype adds, " What could have been King Charles's real motive for 
extending mercy to Blood must for ever be a mystery to the world " : 
unless It was to employ his audacity " to over-awe any man who had 
not mtegrity enough to resist the measures of a most profligate 

Colonel Blood, not long after his Tower exploit, was met in good 
society by Evelyn, who, however, remarked his " villainous, unmerciful 
look ; a false countenance, but very well spoken, and dangerously 

" Villain complete in parson's gown!' 467 

" And thus I clothe my naked villany 
With old odd ends, stol'n out of holy writ, 
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil." 

Richard III. 

For several years applications were repeatedly made to 
the throne through the mediation of Blood, and the indul- 
gence shown to him became a public scandal. The Earl of 
Rochester has the following lines in his History of 
Insipids : — 

" Blood, that wears treason in his face. 
Villain complete in parson's gown, 
How much is he at court in grace, 

For stealing Ormond and the crown I 
Since loyalty does no man good. 
Let's steal the king and outdo Blood." 

The last line but one probably alludes to old Edwards. 
When the " Cabal " fell to pieces, Blood's consequence at 
court declined. He then attempted to fix a scandalous 
imputation on the Duke of Buckingham, his former patron, 
who obtained a verdict of i^io,000 damages in the court of 
King's Bench. Blood was thrown into prison, but finding 
bail, was allowed to retire to his house in the Bowling- 
alley, in order to take such measures as were requisite to 
extricate himself from his troubles ; but he found so few 
friends, and met with such numerous heavy disappoint- 
ments, that he fell into a distemper which speedily threatened 
his life. He was attended in his sickness by a clergyman, 
who found him sensible, but reserved, declaring that he was 
not at all afraid of death. After fourteen days' sickness, he 
fell into a lethargy and expired August 24th, 1680. Blood 
was quietly but decently interred two days after in New 
Chapel Yard, Broadway (now Christ Church, Victoria- 
street), "but," says Cunningham, "dying and being buried 
were considered by the common people in the light of a 
new trick on the part of their old friend the Colonel. So 
the coroner was sent for, the body taken up, and a jury 
summoned. There was some difficulty at first in identify- 
ing the body. At length the thumb of the left hand, which 

468 Streets and places. 

in Blood's lifetime was known to be twice its proper size, 

set the matter everlastingly at rest ; the jury separated, 

and the notorious Colonel was restored to his grave in the 

New Chapel Yard." 

And so ended the life of as pretty a rogue, knowing how 

" to smile and smile and be a villain," as any the history of 

England can show — 

" A cutpurse of the empire and the rule ; 
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole. 

And put it in his pocket ! " 


A broadside published at the time, styled An Elegie on 

Colonel Bloody thus commemorated his welcomed demise — ■ 

Thanks, ye kind fates, for your last favour shown, — 
For stealing Blood, who lately stole the crown. 

At last our famous hero. Colonel Blood, — • 

Seeing his projects all will do no good. 

And that success was still to him denied, — 

Fell sick with grief, broke his great heart, and died. 

Walcott says that the house which was once the 
residence of Blood stood at the junction of Great St. 
Peter and Tufton-streets, overlooking Bowling-alley ; but 
according to a fine water-colour sketch made by Shepherd 
in 1853, and preserved in the Crace collection at the British 
Museum, the house can be identified as that now numbered 
38 and 40 in Tufton-street, on the west-side, and close to 
the north-west corner of the street, at its junction with 
Wood-street. It is an old red-brick structure of three 
storeys, and is pierced by the archway of Tufton-place in 
the centre ; the doorways of Nos. 38 and 40, approached by 
steps, are at the extreme ends of the house, right and left ; 
the basement is enclosed in iron railings ; and the house has 
attic dormers. Although now dilapidated, the house bears 
every evidence of having been built for the occupation of 
" gentle " people, as indeed were at one time all the houses 
in this street and the vicinity. This house was distinguished 
by a shield with a coat of arms — " now obliterated," says 

V auxJiall-bridge-road. 469 

Walcott (1849) — built into the brick work over the first 
storey. The Rev. Mr. Aglionby, the present vicar of Christ 
Church, says that all trace of Blood's grave has long since 

' Like father, like son.' The son of the Colonel, Captain 
Blood, is stated to have kept up his gentility {circa 1692) 
by stopping His Majesty's mails. 

Bowling-alley and Bowling-street were one and the same. 
Perhaps the word ' street ' was of a later date, when the 
term ' alley ' began to have a depreciative meaning. 

Vine-terrace — between Church-passage and Tufton- 
street, was abolished in name at the same time (1869) as 

Olivers-court — was in Bowling-alley, on the west side. 

Black Dog-alley is a narrow court running from Great 
College-street into Tufton-street. According to Walcott, 
it stands on the site of Abbot Benson's small garden ; "and 
the Hostelry Garden (where the visitors of the monastery 
were entertained) extended over the ground which lay be- 
tween the Bowling Green and the river-bank." 

Vauxhall-bridge-ROAD — Extending from Vauxhall- 
bridge and Bessborough-gardens to Victoria-station, may 
be regarded, though of so recent date, as forming roughly 
the boundary line between the postal districts of 'West- 
minster' and ' Pimlico.' The road of course owes its origin 
to the construction of Vauxhall-bridge, which in its turn 
was built for the purpose of affording facility of access for 
visitors to the once famous Vauxhall-gardens. {Seepage 255). 
Cooke's Westminster Local Directory (1847), mentions 
" Vauxhall-bridge-road, from the bridge to the corner of 
Warwick-street," showing that the northern half was not 
built forty-five years ago. 

Hughson in his Walks through London {i^iy) says: — 
" The new road to Vauxhall Bridge runs immediately to 
the rear of the west side of this [Vincent] square ; and since 
the road was constructed, a number of new houses, and even 

2 F 

470 Streets and places. 

new streets, are building on each side, especially since the 
bridge was thrown open." 

Houses were erected on either side piecemeal fashion, 
— terrace after terrace — and thus a number of subsidiary 
names came into existence, which were abolished in 1865, 
by an Order of the late Metropolitan Board, dated 6th 
January. The greater part of Vauxhall-bridge-road (from 
the bridge to Rochester- row) lies in St. John's parish, a 
very small portion (Rochester-row to Francis-street) in St. 
Margaret's parish, and the remainder of its length in St. 
George's. Without drawing a hard and fast line, therefore, 
it may be convenient to give here the full list of the sub- 
sidiary names in Westminster suppressed in 1865, for the 
sake of future reference : — - 

On (he 77(>rt/i side — 
{a) Gloucester-terrace, from Francis-street to Rochester-row. 
{b) Bloomburg-terrace,* from Rochester-row to Bloomburg-street, 
originated in the establishment, in the year 1857, of an experimental depot in 
Bloomburg-terrace, Vauxhall-bridge-road. 

{c) Providence-terrace, from Stanford-street to Edward-street. 
{d) *St. Alban's-terrace (or place), from Edward-street to Carey- 
{c) Roehatapton-place, from Wheeler-street to Roehampton-street. 
O/i the soiitJt side. 

{/) Belvoir-terrace, from the corner with Tachbrook-street to 

{g) *Milton-terrace, from Churton-street to the Guards' Hospital, 

4 houses, now 163-5-7-9, Vauxhall-bridge-road. 
{tt) -'^St. James's-terrace, from the Military Hospital to Charlwood- 

street, now 147-9, 15 1-3-5-7-9, Vau.xhall-bridge-road. 
(/) *Elizabeth-place, from Chapter-street to Dorset-street. 
{J) *. Stafford-place, 6 houses, counting from Russell-street, now 
13, 15, 17, 19, 21-3, Vauxhall-bridge-road. 

The eastern or bridge end of the road was cut through 
the Salisbury estate purchased by Jeremy Bentham about 
1800 for a site for Millbank Penitentiar}'. The tramwa}' 
was first laid in the road in 187 1 -2. Though upwards of 
1,370 \-ards in its entire length, and of an average width of 
sixty feet, Vauxhall-bridge-road is a dull thoroughfare. 

* The extensive Army Clothing Depot in the Grosvenor-road (opened 1S59). 
Those marked * are given in Cooke's Directory. 

Vauxhall-bridge-road. 47 1 

" Here in the long unlovely street " there is not a single 
house that can be pointed out for recognition as remarkable 
or interesting. On the south side are the Scots Guards' 
Hospital fj-^^ chap. XV.), and further eastwards the schools at- 
tached to the church of the Holy Trinity. The monotonous 
tinkleof the ha'penny tram added, until recently, to the depres- 
sion of what might have been a fine thoroughfare — a second 
Regent-street — full of movement and flanked by handsome 
shops and magazines. Perhaps such a future is in store for 
it, when the promised new Vauxhall bridge is a reality; for 
so direct and commodious a route between two important 
railway stations ought to possess a more prosperous and 
lively appearance than its present stuccoed lodging-houses 
and third-rate shops afford. 

But what see you beside ? A shabby stand 

Of hackney coaches — a brick house or wall, 

Flanking some lonely court, white with the scrawl. 

Of our unhappy politics ; — or worse — 

A wretched woman reeling" by, whose curse 

You must accept in place of serenade. 


Toll bars, erected by the Bridge Company, who main- 
tained the road, stood at the junction of several of the 
smaller streets with this road until fifty years ago. 

The site of the Pest-houses — the Seven Houses — was 
perpetuated by Five Chimney-court, now called Douglas- 
place. A map of the city and liberty of Westminster made 
by Thomas Cooke in 1847, shows Five Chimney-court 
running off Vauxhall-bridge-road on the north side im- 
mediately to the north west of Dorset-street, and places it 
beyond doubt that Douglas-place occupies the spot where 
the lonely Pest-houses once stood, in the midst of Tothill- 
fields. The court is also shown by a plan of Taylor's, 1828. 
Lack's cottages in Douglas-place were incorporated with 
the ' place ' in 1889. 

Vincent-square has been already dealt with {see page 3 10). 
The houses were re-numbered in 1871, and again in 1884. 

2 F 2 

472 Streets and places. 

Viiiccnt-strcet now reaches from the square to Earl-street, 
crossing" Regency-street. In it are Vincent-court and 
Vincent-row. Vincent-place is in Frederick-street ; the 
houses were re-numbered in 1886. By an Order of 
the late Metropolitan Board, dated i8th July, 1873, 
Wilton-street was incorporated as part of Vincent-street. 
It extended from Earl-street to Kensington-place, and was 
named after Lord Grey de Wilton. The first Earl of 
Wilton was Sir Thos. Egerton, seventh baronet, whose 
peerage was in remainder to the second and all the 
younger sons successively of his daughter, who married 
Lord Belgrave, afterwards Marquis of Westminster ; his 
baronetcy, however, reverted to the next male heir. The 
second earl assumed the surname of Egerton in lieu of his 
patronymic Grosvenor in 1821 (Dod's Peej'age). 

The name of Vincent-terrace on the south side of 
Vincent-street (Nos. 71 to 83), was superseded by an order 
of the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1873. 

A very small part of Warwick-street is in Westminster — 
that which lies between Tachbrook-street and Vauxhall- 
bridge-road ; the rest, which extends to Ebury-bridge, is in St. 
George's parish. And even of that small part, only four houses 
on the south side are in St. John's parish. But Warwick- 
street has every claim to be noticed here, inasmuch as it is 
considered by good authorities to be identical with the old 
Willow Walk — a footway which crossed Tothill-fields from 
the 'Ship' Tavern at Millbank due west in the direction of 
the Vauxhall-bridge-road, passing the ' Chimney Houses.' 
On each side of it was a ditch and a line of pollard 
willows : sufficient indication of the humid nature of old 

" Some trees their birth to bounteous Nature owe ; 
For some, without the pains of planting, grow. 
With osiers thus the banks of brooks abound, 
Sprung from the watery genius of the ground. 
From the same principles grey willows come, 
Herculean poplar, and the tender broom." 

Virgil, Georgics II. 

TJie Half-pc7iiiy Hatch; Wood-street. 473 

The eastern end of the " walk " was also known by the 
name of the Halfpenny Hatch — the proprietor used to 
charge wayfarers the sum of a halfpenny each for using the 
hatch. Many similar " hatches " at one time existed 
amongst the suburban fields, as at Lambeth, Bermondsey, 
and in the neighbourhood of Tottenham-court-road. The 
authors o\ Rejected Addresses (1803) mention the Hatch in 
making reference to the burning of Astley's theatre — 
Next at Millbank he crossed the river Thames ; 
Thy hatch, O Half-penny ! passed in a trice, 
Boil'd some black pitch, and burnt down Astley's twice. 

It should be mentioned that there is a Willow-street close 
by in St. Margaret's parish, extending from the opposite 
corner of Vauxhall-bridge-road with Rochester-row to 

Walcott-street was the name given by a Metropolitan 
Board Order dated 7th December, 1888, to that part of 
Douglas-street which extended from Rochester-row to 
Vincent-square. A brief notice has been given of West- 
minster's latest and best historian under the head of Great 
College-street {page 412), where he lived during his connec- 
tion with St. Margaret's parish. 

Wheeler-street and John's-place (Bell-street) were named 
after Canon John Wheeler, 1792. 

Wood-street. — Seymour had a very poor opinion of 
this street as he found it in 1720. — " Wood-street very narrow 
with ordinary Houses especially on the north side, being 
old boarded Hovels ready to fall, and wants new building ; 
this street also falls into the Mill-bank^ 

" At the corner of Wood-street, when daylight appears. 
Hangs a thrush that sings loud, it has sung for three years." 

Walcott relates that it was into " the Blind Dock," on 
the north side of the wharf opposite Wood-street, that 
Catherine Hayes, in 1726, threw her husband's head, having 
cut it off with the assistance of two accomplices. A lighter^ 
man found the ' severed head ' in the water, and the 
magistrate ordered it to be set upon a pole in St. Margaret's 

474 Streets and places. 

church-yard. " The murderess in consequence was soon 
discovered, and committed to Tothill-fields Bridewell. She 
suffered at Tyburn on May 9, 1726, the dreadful death of 
burning, as the executioner was unable, owing to the quick 
spread of the fire, to strangle her ; and the spectators 
expressed their detestation of her atrocity by heaping fresh 
fasfcrots about the stake." 

John Carter, F.S.A., the distinguished architect and 
antiquary, lived in this street. He was born in Piccadilly 
on June 22nd, 1748, the son of a sculptor, who left him 
destitute at the early age of 15. Richard Gough, the anti- 
quary and topographer, made ^protege of him ; and his 
etchings, engraved in the Sepulchral Monuments^ made 
him known to Sir John Soane, Dr. Milner, John Kemble, and 
Lord Orford, to the last of whom he dedicated Spechnens of 
Ancient Sculpture and Painthig. For the Society of Anti- 
quaries he made surveys of several cathedrals and the 
College of St. Stephen. " He watched with a provoked eye 
the architectural innovations of the last century, which bid 
fair to injure irreparably the Abbey, St. Margaret's Church, 
and other ancient buildings." He also published A?tcient 
Architecture of England, 1795 — 1816. He died on 
September 8th, 1818. 

The portion of Wood-street between Tufton-street and 
Marsham-street was known as Little Peter-street until 29th 
May, 1868, when the name was abolished by order of the 
Metropolitan Board of Works. 

Having conducted the considerate reader to those streets 
and [:)laces which present anything worthy of record in 
these pages, we feel constrained, in closing so long a 
chapter, to offer an apology for having encumbered it with 
.so much tedious detail. It will probably be allowed, 
however, that the man}- particulars relating to the nomen- 
clature of the streets, may be of some service in years to 
come, in the identification of the places, if not also of some 
of the properties, which have undergone change in that 

'■^ For trut/i, for duty, and for loyalty." 475 

Chapter XIV. 


" This England never did, nor never shall 
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror, 
But when it first did help to wound itself. 

Come the three corners of the world in arms. 

And we shall shock them. Nought shall make us rue 

If England to itself do rest but true." 

King John. 

" Stirred up with the high hopes of living to be brave men and worthy patriots, dear to 
and famous to all ages." — Milton. 

Westminster on the defensive. — William Wilberforce. — Bennet Lang- 
ton. — The Armed Association formed. — Regulations. — The King's 
approval. — Reviews in Hyde-park. — Presentation of Colours. — The 
Corps disbanded. — Loyalty in various forms. — Special Constables. 
— Jacob Cole, ' a merry soul.' — The value of Vestry patronage. — 
Importance of Westminster as a constituency. — Some exciting 
elections. — Macaulay's description. — Vestry activity. — List of Par- 
liamentary representatives. 

T N this chapter it is proposed to notice the loyalty 
and patriotism of our forefathers in St. John's, and to 
give a few brief references to the value which attached, a 
century ago, to the support and influence of ' our Vestry ' 
in connection with parliamentary elections. 

In order to do justice to the first of the two subjects, it 
would be necessary for us to picture to ourselves the state 
of England, if not that of Europe in the closing years of the 
last century ; but though we turn from the blood-thirstiness 
which was so rapidly spreading over France at the time, 
we cannot lose sight of the consternation and dismay which 
prevailed throughout England. Yet, the note of despair 
was never heard. If there was mutiny in small sections of 
of the navy at home, there was victory abroad — victory 
which immortalised the names of Nelson and Collingwood 

476 Loyalty and patriotism. 

and Duncan ; and victory which raised the patriotism of 

England to a point it had never previously attained. With 

a powerful camp formed at Boulogne, and a large flotilla in 

readiness to carry out the invasion of ' our tight little island,' 

the patriotism soon took a practical form, nowhere more so 

than in Westminster, where ' our Vestry,' in conjunction 

with their confreres in St. Margaret's were quickly on the 

alert. On 28th April, 1798, they issued a circular to the 

parishioners as follows : — 


At a meeting of the Vestries of St. Margaret and St. John the 
Evangelist, Westminster, held this day, it having been resolved 
expedient, in the present state of public affairs, to form an Armed 
Association therein, and to appoint a Committee for carrying such 
Resolutions into effect ; and you being nominated one of that Com- 
mittee, I am desired to request the favour of your attendance in 
St. Margaret's Vestry Room, on Tuesday next, at half-past 10 
o'clock precisely, for the above purpose. 

I am, Sir, 

Your obedient servant, 


Then follows a list of the Cominittee, composed of 
25 inhabitants, who were vestrymen, and 25 inhabitants 
not vestrymen ; all alike eager to help King George — 
. . . in his time of storm 
As every loyal subject ought to do. 

3 Henry VI. 

Many were doubtless eminent men in their day ; 
but from each list we will take only one name, selecting 
from the first that of William Wilberforce. 

Ten years before this {i.e., in 1788), when he was seated, 
as he tells us, with Mr. Pitt, in Holwood Park, under a large 
oak tree " just above the steep descent into the vale of 
Keston," he resolved to bring in a bill for the emancipation 
of the slaves in the British possessions. A stone seat 
placed by Lord Stanhope now marks the spot, and the 
large oak is still vigorous. For thirty-five years longer 
this noble man was to continue his work, ere he could 
see it consummated. 

" JVe swear a voluntary zeal" ^yy 

From the " Inhabitants not Vestrymen," we will take the 
name of Bennet Langton, of Langton, in Lincolnshire, the 
beloved friend of Samuel Johnson, who says of him, 
" Langton, Sir, has a grant of free warren from Henry the 
Second, and Cardinal Stephen Langton in King John's 
reign, was of this family " ; again, " the earth does not 
bear a worthier man than Bennett Langton," and again, 
" I know not who will go to heaven if Langton does not." 

If these two gentlemen were types of the men 
forming the Committee of the Armed Association, then 
verily a nobler and more patriotic Committee could hardly 
be found to exist ; the one, belonging to the same family 
as he who led the barons when they took the shackles off 
the people of England, and forced King John to sign 
Magna Charta, on i8th June, 121 5 ; the other, who was to 
take off the fetters and set free the African slaves in our 

This Committee soon got to work, for three days after 
their first meeting : viz., on May ist, we find this minute 
recorded : — 

" At a meeting of the Committee, appointed at a joint meeting of 
the Vestries, for forming an Armed Association within these Parishes, 
held in St. Margaret's Vestry Room. 

The R' Hon. Lord Viscount Belgrave in the chair. 

It was resolved unanimously as follows : — 

I. That this Association shall be composed of Householders, and 

such other Inhabitants in these Parishes as may be recom- 
mended individually by two Householders, being Members of 
the Association. Also that the Committee be empowered to 
reject from this Association any Individual whether House- 
holder, or Inhabitant. 

II. That this Association shall consist of a Body of Infantry, 

armed with Muskets and Bayonets, and be formed into Com- 
panies, which shall be commanded by Officers to be elected 
by their said respective Companies, subject to the Approba- 
tion of His Majesty. 

III. That this Association shall be for the Protection of these 
Parishes ; it being understood, that no person shall be 
obliged, in any Case, to go out of the said Parishes, without 
his own individual Consent. 

478 Loyalty and patriotism. 

IV. That a Uniform be worn by the Association as follows, viz. A 
Blue Coat, with Black Collar and Yellow Buttons, White 
Waistcoat and Pantaloons, round Hat and Cockade. 

V. That the Association provide themselves with Uniforms, and 

that the Arms and Accoutrements be furnished either by the 
Individuals themselves, according to Pattern, or by Applica- 
tion to Government. 

VI. That the Committee shall be at liberty to accept as Honorary 
Members of this Association, such Persons as either from 
their not constantly residing within these Parishes, or from 
the State of their Health, or from any other Cause, cannot 
engage for their constant Attendance. 

VII. That the Corps shall not be required to exercise more than 
twice a Week, nor more than Two Hours at each time. 

VIII. That the Committee will meet in Saint Margaret's Vestry 
Room on Thursday next, and following days (Sundays 
excepted), from the Hours of Ten o'Clock till Two, for the 
purpose of receiving the Names of such Persons as are in- 
clined to join the Association. 

this Meeting be given to the Chairman, for his r£ady Assistance, 
and Zeal in promoting the Business of this day. 

Resolved also. That the foregoing Resolutions be inserted in 
the public Papers, and distributed by Hand Bills among the 

By order of the Committee. 


Subsequent minutes of the Armed Association record 
that, while an application to the Dean for the use of the 
College Garden as a training ground was unsuccessful, Lord 
Gwydyr had granted the use of the Court of Requests, and 
the Government had placed the Cotton Garden at the 
disposal of the Association for the purpose. " The Right 
Honourable Lord Viscount Belgrave," of St. John's, was 
unanimously elected by ballot as the Commanding Officer. 

" Stand forth ! be men ! repel an impious foe. 
Impious and false, a light yet cruel race. 
Who laugh away all virtue, mingling mirth 
With deeds of murder. 

-Stand we forth ;